It has traditionally been derided for its terrible taste and spurned by serious drinkers for its lack of a crucial ingredient. But sales of no-alcohol and low-alcohol beers at UK off-licences and supermarkets have soared to a record high, new figures show, sparked by demand from health-conscious Britons and a wider choice of new ranges with improved taste.
Sales of these beers posted an annual 40% increase across all retail outlets according to the latest data from Kantar Worldpanel. Retailers said consumers were responding to the improved product quality and range; a desire to live more healthily; and better awareness around the risks of drink-driving.
27 January 2012
Last updated at 12:14
Health authorities have decided upon a cross-border strategy on a minimum price for alcohol
Health authorities have decided upon a cross-border strategy on a minimum price for alcohol.
The proposals were outlined at the first formal North/South conference on alcohol misuse, held in Armagh on Thursday.
Health Minister Edwin Poots was joined by the Irish Republic’s Health Minister Dr James Reilly and Minister of State for Health Roisin Shortall.
Last updated at 3:41 AM on 31st January 2012
Devastating effects: Lauren Platts was left vomiting and suffering from damaged vision after drinking the cheap ‘vodka’
When Lauren Platts bought a cheap bottle of vodka from an off-licence, the shopkeeper warned her: ‘This stuff will make you blind.’
She dismissed it as a joke but the next morning she woke up with blurred vision plus a terrible migraine and sickness.
Miss Platts, 21, fears the £5.99 bottle of industrial alcohol masquerading as vodka may have permanently damaged her sight.She says that more than two months later she still has blurred sight and regularly loses her peripheral vision.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that a total of 8,790 people died of alcohol-related causes in 2010, 126 more than in 2009. The number of deaths among men rose from 5,690 in 2009 to 5,865 in 2010, the latest year for which figures are available.
Excessive alcohol consumption is a major, but preventable, cause of premature death, accounting for almost 1.5 per cent of all lives lost in England and Wales in 2010. In 2008 the Department of Health estimated that alcohol abuse cost the NHS £2.7bn a year.
The impact of heavy and binge drinking can be revealed as new figures show Wales has one of highest rate of alcohol-related deaths in the UK.
Figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show alcohol-related deaths are at their highest in Wales and the north of England.
In 2010, almost 500 adults in Wales died from alcohol-related causes, which includes alcohol dependence, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis.
But the figures also show a dramatic increase in alcohol-related deaths in Wales, particularly in men, over the last 20 years.