Marketing

UK alcohol consumption falls

There are now 1,442 breweries in the UK, an increase of 190 on 2012’s numbers and 188% more than in 2000. However despite this, alcohol consumption in the UK fell again last year

New figures from the British Beer & Pub Association’s Statistical Handbook 2014 show a continuing strong downward trend over the past decade according to the latest annual edition of the British Beer & Pub Association’s Statistical Handbook 2014.

In 2013, at 7.8 litres, per capita alcohol consumption was down 1.7% on 2012. The new Handbook shows per capita consumption down a substantial 18.1% since 2004 and last year’s 7.8 litre figure compares with 8.4 litres in 2000.

The Handbook’s section on alcohol-related harm shows falling trends in several key indicators, for example:

Drinking by young people has fallen; in England last year, 39% of 11-15 year-olds had drunk alcohol compared to 43% in 2012 and 61% in 2001.

Among 11-15 year-olds who’d had a drink in the last week, average weekly consumption last year was 8.2 units compared to12.5 units in 2012 and 9.8 units in 2001.

The BB&PA’s Handbook also contains detailed data on prices, taxation and international trends. The taxation section shows that (excluding Ireland) Britain’s beer taxes remain very high compared with some neighbouring countries: three times higher than France, five times higher than Belgium and 13 times higher than Germany.

The UK’s alcohol consumption is lower than the EU average, 25% less than Germany and 15% less than France, for example. By comparison, Ireland’s per capita adult consumption rests at 8 Litres and is considered to be in the mid-range of alcohol consumption figures for Europe.

“It’s great to see trends in alcohol harms coming down, showing that investment by the industry and partnership with Government, through targeted measures, is having a positive impact,” commented BB&PA’s Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds, “There are certainly positives for beer in the data, with greater beer choice for beer drinkers than ever before.

“But despite the recent cuts in beer duty, Britain’s consumers are still subject to some of the highest tax rates for beer in the EU. Let’s hope we see another tax cut next year.”

Britain’s beer taxes remain very high compared with some neighbouring countries: three times higher than France, five times higher than Belgium and 13 times higher than Germany.

Sign up for Drinks Industry Ireland

Get a free weekly update on Drinks Industry trade news, direct to your inbox. Sign up now, it's Free