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UK alcohol consumption down 2.1% in 2013

Published:  15 April, 2014

UK alcohol consumption fell in 2013 by 2.1% - the seventh decline in nine years - according to new figures compiled by the British Beer and Pub Association.

Alcohol consumption now stands at 7.7 litres per head in 2013, representing an 18% drop in consumption per head since 2004, to the lowest level this century.

The downward consumption trend kicked off in 2004, according to the BBPA, who compile the data based on HMRC alcohol tax returns.

In total, Britons drank over seven billion fewer units of alcohol in 2013, compared with 2004, the figures showed. 

Brigid Simmonds, BBPA chief executive, said: "We have now experienced a decade of falling alcohol consumption. While total consumption per head is not synonymous with alcohol-related harm, these are interesting figures, as the percentage of those drinking at harmful levels has also been falling, as have the number of under-18s drinking.

"The industry will continue to work to tackle alcohol misuse, but there are several encouraging trends, and accurate and up-to-date figures are important for the debate around alcohol."

Earlier this month alcohol awareness charity Drinkaware published research saying consumers are confused over unit guidelines and called on the industry to do more. Its survey of 1,539 adults aged 25-65 showed that just over two thirds didn't recognise how many units they could drink if they wanted to stay inside the lower risk guidelines. Nor could most identify the number of units in a glass of wine or a pint of beer.