The proportion of British consuming wine is set to overtake that of the French, according to data released by Mintel in the last week.

A report studying alcohol trends across the UK, France, Spain, Germany and Italy found that the British are fast getting a taste for European habits, with 64% claiming to be wine drinkers, virtually equal to France at 65%.

Though in volume terms the British remain the lightest users and the French the heaviest, the French are drinking less wine than ever. In the 1960s, 120 litres per adult per annum were consumed. This has slid to an estimated 55 litres.

Mintel said 89% of the British were consuming alcohol either at home or elsewhere. The number is closely followed by the French, for who 88% of consumers drink alcohol. Three quarters of the Spanish enjoy a drink but over a third of Germans claim to be teetotal.

"With health awareness high in Germany, in part also as a result of the on-going financial crises in the health insurance system, and discussions over a ban on alcohol, all alcoholic drinks in Germany are under something of a cloud," Mintel said in a release.

The UK consumer is the biggest supporter of the white spirit category with the proportion of adults favouring the category at 43%, higher than France (22%) and Spain (15%) combined.

Meanwhile only 15% of the Spanish and 13% of Germans are likely to favour this option.

Breaking down the category, Mintel said in the UK, 25% of consumers would opt for vodka, up on France where the number was 10%, Germany (8%) and Spain (5%).

The situation is similar for gin, where 19% of UK consumers favour this spirit, compared to 8% of the French, 9% of the Spanish and 3% of Germans.

The French on the other hand lead the way in the dark spirits category, in particular whisky (37%), followed by the British 33%.