Toolkit for Assessing the Unrecorded Alcohol Market

the unrecorded alcohol market

A significant portion of all alcohol consumed globally is not reflected in official statistics on production, cross-border trade, and sales. According to the World Health Organization (WHO, 2014), this unrecorded category includes roughly a quarter of all alcohol consumed around the world. However, the accuracy of this estimate is difficult to ascertain because of the limitations of existing approaches to sizing the unrecorded market.


Some unrecorded beverages are traditional or artisanal drinks produced legally for home consumption or limited local trade, and linked with local culture and tradition. However, a large portion of the unrecorded market falls outside of legal channels for manufacture, sale, or both. Furthermore, alcohol that moves between countries through either legal cross-border shopping or smuggling will go unrecorded in the country of consumption. A final type of unrecorded alcohol includes alcohol-containing liquids that are not intended for human consumption.