Could the end of the wine industry be in sight? Experts have discovered that a health measure may not have a negative impact on pubs.

Estimated read time 3 min read

Some people may feel envious if they are in the middle of dry January and eagerly anticipating a glass of sauvignon blanc in two weeks.

However, researchers at Cambridge University have discovered that removing the largest size of wine from bar menus could have a positive impact on the overall health of the country, without negatively affecting the profits of pubs.

A study revealed that eliminating the most common size – typically 250ml – from being sold results in a decrease of approximately 8% in wine sales, although it may also result in complaints from customers.

The discovery suggested that individuals could be encouraged to consume less alcohol, resulting in potential health benefits. Additionally, the research did not find any indication that individuals would compensate by purchasing more beer or cider.

According to a study published in Plos Medicine, reducing the size of wine glasses resulted in an average decrease of just under 8% in wine sales at pubs and bars.

After considering variables such as the day of the week and overall income, removing large glasses resulted in an average reduction of 420ml of wine sold per day per location.

The study showed that the relocation did not impact overall profits, indicating that pubs and bars did not have to be concerned about financial losses. This could be because smaller portions of wine have higher profit margins, according to the specialists.

Unfortunately, four out of the 21 locations included in the study received complaints from customers, according to managers.

According to Dr Eleni Mantzari, the primary writer of the study from the University of Cambridge, it appears that individuals tended to choose smaller servings of wine when the largest option was not available, but did not consume the same amount overall.

Individuals have a tendency to consume a fixed amount of units, such as glasses, regardless of the size of the portion.

Therefore, an individual may choose to only have a few glasses of wine initially, and by having a lower amount of alcohol in each glass, they will consume less alcohol overall.

Excessive alcohol consumption ranks as the fifth leading cause of early mortality and illness on a global scale, according to statistics.

In 2016, the World Health Organization reported that the excessive consumption of alcohol led to about 3 million fatalities globally.

A research team from Cambridge University conducted a study in 21 licensed establishments, primarily pubs, in various locations throughout England, such as London, Cambridgeshire, Southampton, Gloucester, Brighton and Hove. The study aimed to determine if removing the largest serving of wine by the glass for a period of four weeks would affect the amount of wine consumed.

Unfortunately, the researchers were not able to evaluate the sales of any other types of alcoholic beverages besides wine, beer, and cider. These other drinks make up approximately 30% of the total alcoholic drinks sold at the participating locations.

The specialists suggest that while pub or bar managers may approve of removing the biggest serving glass, there is no proof that it would lead to a decrease in profits. However, the alcohol industry may oppose this change.

According to them, the success of implementing this policy would rely on both its efficiency and the level of clarity in communication.


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