Swiss continue to drink 1.6 litres of spirits a year

Figure well below that for UK, France

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Absinthe was long banned, but made its return recently and since 2012 has been protected under European law as a Swiss product

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The Swiss continue to hold a steady line on their consumption of spirits, at about 1.6 litres per person a year for the past 10 years. Consumption has risen slightly, new figures from the Federal Bureau for Alcohol show, but in line with the rising population.

The Swiss consumed on average 8.6 litres of pure alcohol, all categories combined, in 2011, well down from the 17 litres per person back in 1900.

For the past three years overall consumption has remained steady, with a slight dip in wine drinking made up for by a slight increase in beer.

British drinkers, by comparison, consume slightly more alcohol per person in total, measured as pure alcohol.

The UK’s annual consumption per person in product terms (not pure alcohol) was 27.9 litres for wine, 2.2 litres for spirits (@100% alcohol) and 106.4 litres for beer, according to the British Wine and Spirit Trade Association, in 2011.

The French drink somewhat more spirits, about 2.5 litres. Spirits account for 20 percent of alcoholic beverages drunk in France with wine 60 percent, compared to spirits accounting for 21 percent  in the UK and wine 30 percent.

In Switzerland, spirits account for 18 percent of alcohol consumption and wine 50 percent. Beer makes up the bulk of the difference in all three countries (figures are from the WHO and date back to 2005, with only Britain showing a significant change, with less beer and more wine in recent years.

Swiss spirits account for only 18 percent of the market, with 82 percent imported. Whisky remains the most popular import, accounting for 21 percent of the market, followed by vodka, with 18 percent.

The Swiss indigenous production, from a variety of fruits, is highly dependent on fruit yields, with harvests tending to alternate good and bad years. A happy note for the industry is an 11 percent increase in exports in 2012, due almost entirely to the 104 percent increase in sales abroad of Swiss absinthe, which received protection from the European Union in August 2012. The quantity nevertheless remains very small compared to imported spirits.

 

swiss alcohol consumption years

Source: Swiss Bureau for Alcohol