Yes, without a doubt. If you notice there has been a recent trend towards high-end gins and vodkas. The industry is sending us a very clear message that drinking high-end spirits is sophisticated and that tends to appeal to a younger, more affluent audience. I wouldn’t necessarily say they are aimed specifically at women – but it’s clear these are the drinks women consume more than men.
The alcohol content in these upmarket spirits is pretty high, they’re strong drinks. They tend to have a much higher alcohol content than the spirits you’d ordinarily find in pubs. In pubs they’re about 30 per cent, and the higher end ones are nearer to 40 per cent. So they tend to be stronger.
"The drinks industry has, by and large, got men fairly sown up as habitual consumers of alcohol. So they’ve had to create a new market – young people and women in particular."
RTDs (Ready to Drink – typically drinks like Smirnoff Ice that are combination of a spirit and a mixer, typically lemonade), are almost an invention of the last 15 years. These are clearly aimed at women because they’re sweet drinks. They came from the alcopop boom originally. I’m not sure home drinking was the driver for these drinks. The main driver was the need to create a new market for the product. The drinks industry has, by and large, got men fairly sown up as habitual consumers of alcohol. So they’ve had to create a new market – young people and women in particular. Not least because women have every bit as much disposable income as men these days – certainly younger women.