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New figures show UK alcohol consumption down 2.1 per cent in 2013


  • Alcohol consumption 7.7 litres per head in 2013
  • 18 per cent decline in consumption per head since 2004, to the lowest level this century

UK alcohol consumption per head fell again in 2013, new figures show. This is the seventh year in the past nine that there has been a fall. Consumption per head is now 18 per cent lower than it was in 2004, when the current trend began, says the British Beer & Pub Association, which compiles the new data every year, based on HMRC alcohol tax returns.

In total, Britons drank over seven billion fewer units of alcohol in 2013, compared with 2004. Alcohol consumption per head was 7.7 litres per head in 2013 – the lowest level this century.

Brigid Simmonds, BBPA Chief Executive, comments:

“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.”

Notes to editors:

Year Alcohol consumption (per total population, litres per head)
1980 7.4
1990 7.9
2000 8.4
2001 8.7
2002 9.1
2003 9.2
2004 9.5
2005 9.3
2006 9.0
2007 9.2
2008 8.9
2009 8.3
2010 8.4
2011 8.2
2012 7.9
2013 7.7
Year Per head consumption compared with 2013
1980 +4.3%
1990 -2.4%
2000 -8.0%
2004 -18.4%
2012 -2.1%

The data was compiled by the British Beer & Pub Association, from data published on 28th February in the HMRC Alcohol Bulletin

Figures are based on total alcohol released into the UK market, so is not based on sampled or survey data.

The BBPA applies average strengths to wine and cider to establish overall levels in consumption (beer and spirits are already measured in pure alcohol terms), producing data that is widely accepted and used, including by Government sources and the health sector.

The British Beer & Pub Association is the leading body representing Britain’s brewers and pub companies. The Association is more than a century old and was originally founded as the Brewers’ Society in 1904. Our members account for some 96% of beer brewed in Britain today, and own more than half of the nation’s pubs. These members are also diverse in their activity – from international brewers, to market-leading managed pub companies, the nation’s largest tenanted pub companies and historic family brewers. This diversity of membership enables us to speak up for the industry, championing its cause, whilst also being able to credibly claim a wide representative base.

The Association exists to promote and protect one of the nation’s most iconic and important industries. Not only is it a significant contributor to the economy, but also a vital cultural icon unique to Britain. Almost a million jobs are reliant on our sector, and the economy is £21.4 billion better off.


Alcohol policy

For further information contact:

Neil Williams
Head of Media
Tel: 020 7627 9156 / 07974 249 779

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