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UK alcohol consumption falls to levels not seen in the 21st Century – new industry stats handbook


• Average price of draught lager £3.30 in 2013, draught bitter £2.87
• Increase of 165 breweries in 2012
• Despite 2013 Beer Duty cut it is still 61 per cent higher than in 2000
• Updated BBPA Statistical Handbook 2013 published with the latest facts

UK alcohol consumption in 2012 fell to the lowest level this century, with the trend of declining alcohol consumption continuing - this and a wealth of other key statistics are contained in the latest annual edition of the British Beer & Pub Association’s Statistical Handbook 2013.

There was a 3.3 per cent per cent fall in UK consumption per head in 2012, which the BBPA says supports Government decisions to pursue a partnership approach on alcohol. The BBPA believes that these figures, based on Treasury returns, demonstrates the comparative benefit of targeted, rather than broad, measures.

Whilst alcohol consumption was falling, there was still growth in the numbers of breweries with 1,113 operational in Britain by the end of 2012, with the number of larger breweries stable.

Other key facts about Britain’s drinking to emerge in the new handbook:

• Drunkeness offences fell 12 per cent in England and Wales during 2012.
• Cask ale continued to increase its market share, despite a small fall (- 1.1 per cent) in overall volume.
• Beer is the only category with majority of sales made through the on-trade.

Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive, comments:

“The continuing fall in alcohol consumption challenges the inaccurate perception that Britain has a general issue with alcohol. There are specific problems, which require targeted solutions in partnership with the industry.

“It is positive for the nation that there is a continued increase in the numbers of breweries. At the same time, despite the cut in beer duty, Britain’s consumers are still subject to the second highest tax rates for beer in the European Union – holding back growth for the wider sector.”

Notes to editors:

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.

Following extensive consultation with users, the BBPA Statistical Handbook 2013 has been launched. All the tables have been reviewed and there is now greater focus on recent history along with a brief commentary on the key trends shown in each table.

The Handbook remains a unique guide to detailed trends in the UK beer and pub markets including both regional data within the UK alongside international data on beer and alcohol consumption. There are sections on household expenditure, income and prices as well as taxation, the structure of the industry and alcohol-related harm. It is also available with a memory stick containing key data featured in the handbook. They can be purchased from

UK Consumption of alcohol - Litres per head of 100% alcohol

Year Litres of alcohol per head (per year) Change year on year
2000 8.4 1.2%
2001 8.7 3.8%
2002 9.1 3.8%
2003 9.2 1.6%
2004 9.5 3.1%
2005 9.4 -1.5%
2006 9.0 -3.4%
2007 9.2 1.9%
2008 8.9 -3.0%
2009 8.4 -6.1%
2010 8.4 0.5%
2011 8.2 -2.2%
2012 8.0 -3.3%


» BBPA Statistical Handbook 2013 front cover


Beer Duty, Machine Games Duty, Licensing , Alcohol policy, Exports

For further information contact:

Gareth Barrett

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