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New figures show UK alcohol consumption down 3.3 per cent in 2012


• UK alcohol consumption per head down again – 3.3 per cent drop in 2012
• 16 per cent decline in consumption per head since 2004
• Per capita consumption below 8 litres per head, first time since 1998

New figures for UK alcohol consumption in 2012 show that the amount Britons drink has fallen yet again – for the sixth year out of the past eight. Consumption per head is now 16 per cent lower than it was in 2004 when the current trend began, says the British Beer & Pub Association, which has compiled the new data based on HMRC alcohol tax returns.

2012 was the first year since 1998 that alcohol consumption has dropped below eight litres per head, per year (7.99 litres).

Brigid Simmonds, BBPA Chief Executive, comments:

“Total alcohol consumption is now 16 per cent lower per head than in 2004, when this trend began. While alcohol misuse remains a problem for a minority that we must all work to tackle, it is also important that the debate is fully informed by the latest facts on levels of consumption.”

Notes to editors:

Year Litres of alcohol per head per year Change year on year
1998 7.96
1999 8.33 4.5%
2000 8.42 1.1%
2001 8.73 3.7%
2002 9.06 3.8%
2003 9.21 1.6%
2004 9.50 3.2%
2005 9.36 -1.5%
2006 9.05 -3.3%
2007 9.22 1.9%
2008 8.94 -2.5%
2009 8.40 -6.1%
2010 8.44 0.6%
2011 8.26 -2.2%
2012 7.99 -3.3%

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 UK’s leading organisation representing the brewing and pub sector. Its members account for 96 per cent of the beer brewed in the UK and around half of Britain’s 50,000 pubs.


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

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