UK beer duty still EU’s 2nd highest

The UK’s alcohol consumption remained stable in 2014, 19% lower than its 2004 peak, according to the latest Annual Statistical Handbook from the British Beer & Pub Association.

The UK ranked 19th in the EU for per capita alcohol consumption and the drinks industry there remains a very healthy source of tax revenues for the UK Treasury despite recent cuts in duty.

In 2014/15 the UK Government’s excise duties and VAT receipts from alcohol sales reached a new high of £18.4 billion. At £6.2 billion, revenues from beer made up 34% of this total.

Despite the recent tax cuts, the BBPA says that there’s still huge scope to cut beer duties in the UK still further.

The Handbook reports that the duty paid on each UK pint remains the second highest in the EU at 52.2p (70 Cent), trailing only Finland at 64.6p (87 Cent) but ahead of Ireland on 41p (55 Cent). The duty rate in the UK is now 14 times that in Europe’s largest beer market, Germany.

The Handbook notes that the number of breweries in the UK rose again in 2014 to 1,700 from just 500 in 2000. The BBPA also reports the first annual rise in UK beer sales since 2004, with sales up 1.3%.

Other developments mark the continuation of long-term trends in the sector. For the first time on record, in 2014 the off-trade’s share of beer sales (50.5%) exceeded that in the on-trade (49.5%). Looking at all alcohol, just 32.6% of sales were made through the on-trade – the lowest proportion on record.

The figures also show the continuing decline in indicators of the harmful use of alcohol. The proportion of young people (11-15 years) that have tried alcohol fell from 20% in 2007 to just 8% in 2014.

“It’s great to see beer putting in such a solid performance in 2014 while at the same time the trends in alcohol harm are coming down,” commented BBPA’s Chief Executive Brigid Simmons.

The BBPA Stats Handbook is available for purchase here.



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