Scotland’s Sobering Stats
Numbers can be suprising, as in the case of Scotland. Contrary to popular images, the descendants of blue-bottomed Braveheart aren’t any wilder in their drinking habits than their southern neighbors. In fact, in some repsects, the Scottish are considerably more conservative with their beer drinking, as well as their brand preferences.
Scotland has a vast amount of space, but not many people. The population is about 5 million less than 10 percent of the overall population of the United Kingdom.
Scotland’s share of the United Kingdom’s beer consumption is also small. Each year, Scotland LiscensedTrade News (a journal for publicans and pub owners) publishes a survey by A.C. Nielsen about drinking in Scotland. According to Nielsen, between May 2004 and May 2005 the Scots bought 1.07 million pounds worth of beer, That may sound like a lot, but it’s actually less than 10 percent of the 13.1 million pounds of beer sold in Britain during this period.
Sales of Scottish craft beer are, of course, far smaller. Nielsen reports that cask ale sales in Scotland only amounted to 7 million pounds during this period (As compared to 946 million pounds in the U.K.) Draft premium ale sales amounted to 55 million, compared to 628 million in Great Britian.
Nielsen also ranked the 50 top selling beers and spirits sold in Scotland. One of the top 10 beers- Belhaven Best- was made by a regional brewer. However, to reach the top ten, Belhaven had to produce an “extra cold” beer available by “mixed gas dispense.” Most of Scotland’s other top 10 brews are very familiar: Budweiser, Foster’s, Guiness, and Miller. And according to Nielsen only one of the top 50 selling beers and spirits in Scotland was a Cask ale- Deuchars IPA, made by Caledonian.