The alcoholic drinks that are shooting up in price

The price of wine is increasing faster than any other alcoholic drink. (PA)
The price of wine is increasing faster than any other alcoholic drink. (PA)

From rising energy bills to soaring food prices, consumers are feeling the pinch as the cost of living crisis hits.

If that's enough to make you want to pour a large glass of red, there's bad news.

Recent data shows that wine prices are increasing faster than any other alcoholic drink.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show the price of wine has seen a 3.3% increase in the 12 months to January. This compares to a 0.8% rise in beer prices.

The price of wine is rising faster than any other type of alcoholic drink. (Yahoo News UK)
The price of wine is rising faster than any other type of alcoholic drink. (Yahoo News UK)

The UK's overall rate of inflation has risen by 5.5% in the same period, largely driven by steep rises in energy costs.

The situation is set to get worse, with the Bank of England warning that inflation will rocket to 7.25% in April.

Why the cost of living is increasing. (Yahoo News UK)
Why the cost of living is increasing. (Yahoo News UK)

With wages rising slower than inflation, it means less money in people's pockets .

Why is wine increasing in price?

Wine and Spirit Trade Association's (WSTA) chief executive Miles Beale says that climate change is an important factor.

He told Yahoo News UK: "Wine prices are directly affected by adverse weather events where they have an impact on grape yields. For example, drought or wildfires can wipe out entire vineyards, which can reduce the amount of wine produced, which bumps up wine prices.

"On a smaller scale, frosts can damage vines, reducing the number of grapes that can be produced in that year's yield.

"In recent years climate change means there have been more extreme weather events more often. This affects global wine production and supply."

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The impact of both the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit, following the end of the transition period on 31 December, 2020, has also been felt.

"This has hit wine supply to the UK specifically, which is the second biggest importer of wine in the world and imports more than 99% of its wine," Beale said.

"COVID has meant a scarcity of tanks for moving wine, as well competition for shipping slots as the global economy looks to recover.

"And where demand for transportation has risen, the UK’s post-Brexit HGV driver crisis has had a real impact. Wine shipments have been delayed and there has been added confusion at ports over what paperwork is needed, also slowing things down, at least temporarily.

"So there have been a series of things affecting the supply chain, squeezing the supply of wine to the UK - and driving up prices.

Alcohol duty is another factor

Alcohol duty is the tax levied onto a certain drink. And Beale says that "in the last 10 years, wine has been more harshly treated than any other alcoholic product when it comes to duty rises".

The WSTA's duty tracker shows rates on a 75cl bottle rose from £1.61 in 2009 to £2.23 in 2009. This compares to 37p to 43p for a pint of beer.

And tax on wine is set to increase further.

In his Budget in October last year, chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a shake-up of the UK’s alcohol duties system, with the revamp benefiting producers and drinkers of lower alcohol content drinks. A typical bottle of wine has an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 13%.

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The change is set to come into force in February next year, with WSTA research finding 80% of all wines (and 95% of reds) will increase in price as a result.

Beale says this is "creating anger and frustration across the wine industry because it will result in having to pass on substantial tax and cost increases to wine consumers.

"And because wine strength varies a lot, the increase will be ubiquitous, but far higher on, for example, a red wine made in a hot climate because that confers a higher percentage of alcohol. So it’s unfair on both wine businesses and consumer, especially those who prefer hotter climate wines."

It's not just wine - beer prices will increase, too

Though beer prices are not increasing as fast as wine (0.8% in a year compared to 3.3%), manufacturers are very much feeling the pinch.

Last week, brewing giant Heineken warned it is facing the worst inflation in a decade and announced it will raise its prices in an effort to offset higher costs. These include sharp increases across commodity costs, energy and shipping.

The company, which also brews Amstel and Birra Moretti, said price rises may lead to beer drinkers cutting back - a phenomenon it labelled “softer beer consumption” - as shoppers face the increased cost of living.

Earlier this month, Cobra founder Lord Bilimoria also told the BBC its prices will have to rise because of a "vicious cycle" of soaring costs including packaging, freight and wages.