Women are being penalised for preferring a different drink to men, new data shows

Tax on wine, the most popular alcoholic drink among women in the UK, has risen twice as fast as tax on the most popular alcoholic drink among men over the past decade, according to new research.

A YouGov survey of 2000 people reveals that 39% of women list a type of wine as their favourite alcoholic drink, with 7% choosing a type of beer. Among men, the order is reversed with 40% preferring beer and 16% preferring wine. The findings also once again show that wine is not just a drink just for the “middle-class”, with 34% of “working class” women (social grade C2DE), preferring wine compared to 7% preferring beer. 

The data also reveals that wine is also more widely consumed by women than beer, with a calculated 84% of women drinkers choosing wine in the last 12 months, compared to 68%, who have drunk beer. For men this is reversed with 78% having drunk wine and 91% beer.

An analysis of Budget decisions since 2010, however, shows that duty on wine has risen by 39% since 2010, compared with a rise of just 16% for beer.  Following these increases, more duty is paid on a typical serving of wine than any other drink, with duty making up 52p of an average 175ml glass of wine, compared to 43p for a pint of beer.  As well as duty, alcoholic drinks are also subject to standard VAT which is 20% on top.

Wine Drinkers UK, a recently formed campaign group is calling for an end to, and reversal of, the unfair penalisation of wine drinkers at the next Budget. The campaign is backed by wine commentators, companies and enthusiasts including Helen McGinn, wine author and blogger, Joe Fattorini of ITV’s Wine Show, Treasury Wine Estates and Concha y Toro UK.

Supporters of Wine Drinkers UK have written to Simon Clarke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury – the government minister responsible for alcohol duty rates – calling for a reduction in wine duty at the next Budget.