Evaluation of Alcohol Industry Action to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol: Case Study from Great Britain

P. Anderson*, E.J. Llopis, J. Rehm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Web of Science)


Aims: To describe a case study in the British market of one of the global beer-producing companies that has set a target to increase the proportion of its products with an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 3.5% or less, and to reduce the mean ABV of its beer products.Methods: Descriptive statistics and time-series analyses using Kantar Worldpanel's British household purchase data for 2015-2018.Results: As assessed by British household purchase data, 15.7% of the company's beer products had an ABV of 3.5% or less in 2018, compared with 8.8% in 2015. The mean ABV of its beer products dropped from 4.69 in 2015 to 4.55 in 2018. Associated with these changes, the increase in purchased grams of alcohol in all beer that occurred during 2015-2016 (standardized coefficient = 0.007), plateaued during 2017 (standardized coefficient = -0.006) and decreased during 2018 (standardized coefficient = -0.034). Similar findings applied to the purchased grams of alcohol in beer other than ABI beer, suggesting some switching from other beer products to ABI products; and in all alcohol, suggesting, on balance, no overall switching to higher strength products. Greater decreases in purchases were found in the younger age groups, the highest purchasing households in terms of grams of alcohol, class groups D and E, and Scotland; there was no clear pattern by household income.Conclusions: The proportion of the company's beer purchased in Great Britain that had an ABV of 3.5% or less increased since the launch of the target, and the mean ABV of its beer products decreased. The changes were associated with reduced purchases of grams of alcohol within its beer products. The associated reductions in purchases of alcohol in all beer and in all alcohol products suggest no evidence of overall switching to other higher strength beer or alcohol products. Other beer-producing companies should undertake similar initiatives. A regulatory tax environment should be introduced to ensure a level-playing field favouring lower alcohol concentration across all beer and other alcohol products.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-432
Number of pages9
JournalAlcohol and Alcoholism
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


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