How much do Spaniards spend on going out for drinks? €114 a year

Hard liquor consumption study shows men prefer gin and women opt for rum and vermouth

Cristina Delgado
A barman mixes a gin and tonic.
A barman mixes a gin and tonic.Alfredo Arias

Spaniards spent an average €114 on spirits – which is to say distilled drinks such as rum, gin and whisky – in bars and restaurants last year, €6 less than in 2013, according to a study by consultant Kantar Worldpanel.

But beneath this average consumption figure lie many differences. For example, “men spend 60 percent more than women (€138 compared to €86) and consume more frequently (15 drinks a year compared to nine for women),” explains the company.

The group that drinks the smallest amount consists of women aged 18-34 who live in metropolitan areas

Geography also influences the type of alcohol bought outside the home. “The heaviest consumers of these types of drinks are men, aged over 50, and resident in the north of Spain. They make up three million of the Spanish population, and annually spend €358. At the other end, the group that consumes the smallest amount of alcohol (to which nine million people belong) consists of women aged between 18 and 34 years old, resident in the metropolitan areas of Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia, who consume an average three drinks a year,” the consultancy concludes.

The differences between men and women are many: men consume more gin, rum and whisky, and although rum remains the most popular drink among female drinkers, women also order more vermouth and cocktails.

The survey – which only examines hard liquor consumption, leaving out drinks such as beer, wine and cider – highlights that the time and the company significantly determine the amount spent and the product drunk. Edurne Uranga, director of Kantar Worldpanel’s out of home sector, says that “while there are marked differences between masculine and feminine consumption, as well as age, what really determines which drink we end up consuming is the occasion: when, and who we are with.”

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Weekend evenings and when in the company of friends remain the main occasions for consuming drinks with a high alcohol content. Rum and Coke, gin and tonic, and whisky and Coke are the most popular tipples, but again, there are geographical variations. “There are different preferences according to the area: along the Mediterranean Arc the preferred drink on Saturday nights is gin and tonic, in Andalusia it is rum and Coke, and in Madrid it is whisky and Coke,” the survey explains. When people go out with their partners, rather than in a group, mojitos and caipirinhas also stand out.

At Sunday lunchtimes, vermouth leads the way when it comes to strong drinks, competing with beer and wine. And for after-work drinks during the week, Kantar says it has detected widespread consumption of neat whisky – though it reiterates that the survey only examines drinks with a high alcohol content. “These types of strong spirits are not that common in this kind of consumption, which is dominated by beer (which makes up 86 percent of all after-work consumption),” it says.

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