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UK alcohol consumption sees sharpest drop since 1948

Published:  03 September, 2010

UK alcohol consumption has fallen for the fourth year in a row ? 2009's 6% drop in consumption has been the sharpest decline in 60 years.

British drinkers are now consuming 13% less alcohol than in 2004, and the country's consumption is below the EU average, according to figures from the British Beer & Pub Association. The organisation said this year's decline had been the fourth annual drop in five years ? the largest decline since 1948,

Other BBPA survey findings, published in its Statistical Handbook 2010, showed that:

  • UK beer taxes are the second highest in the EU - ten times higher than Germany, and seven times higher than France

  • Ale market share has increased for the first time in 40 years

  • Beer makes up 60% of all alcohol sales in the on-trade, wine accounts for 17% of sales

  • Total beer spend is £17 billion per year - 41% of all spending on alcohol. Of this £13.5 billion is spent in the on-trade, and £26.5 billion in the off-trade (shops and supermarkets)

  • The average price of a pint of bitter is £2.58 and lager £2.95

  • Beer contributes £5.5 billion in duty and VAT to the Treasury, on the whole, alcohol contributes £14.6 billion.

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: "These figures will confound many pundits, as yet again they confirm that as a nation, we are not drinking more. Those who suggest otherwise need to focus on the hard facts."