Why not put down that glass of wine and read a book instead, or head outside for stroll? Oh, I see you already did – or at least you had good intentions of doing so.

Brits are eager to cut down on the booze, new research from Mintel shows. The market research company’s Attitudes Towards Alcoholic Drinks report found that 17% of drinkers expect to reduce their alcohol intake in the coming year, while just 5% expect it to go up. The figures hold up across the age groups, with 19% of over-45s and 16% of 18 to 24-year-olds planning to drink less.

These figures aren’t surprising – ONS data has been showing alcohol consumption on a downward trend for years. But clearly they present a conundrum for the drinks industry. When you make money from selling people alcohol, it’s bad news when they want less of it – but this isn’t a trend alcohol producers can actively try to reverse.

Fortunately, there’s a solution to the problem that is good news for everyone: premiumisation. As part of the study, Mintel asked consumers if they thought it was worth paying more for higher-quality drinks – 55% said it was. Of the survey respondents who said they expected to cut down, 45% cited saving money as one of their reasons for doing so – but that suggests more than half of these consumers are open to spending similar amounts on fewer, pricier drinks.

Of course, what consumers say and what they do are two different things. But the evidence is there in imported lager, craft ale, artisan spirits, and pricier mainstream wine brands like Oyster Bay and Campo Viejo, that when consumers are convinced of a product’s quality credentials, they will pay a premium for it in big numbers.

Booze suppliers may need to be reconciled with selling smaller and smaller quantities of their products. News stories like this one are not going to go away.

But moving from a quantity to a quality game ultimately benefits consumers, and not just in terms of health. Treating alcohol as more of a luxury and paying more than we currently do might even make the effects feel a bit more special – and that should make for a promising direction for drinks companies to be moving in.