Alcohol consumption still well below 2004 peak

29 August, 2011

Alcohol consumption rose slightly in the UK last year, but remains well below the 2004 peak, according to figures from the British Beer & Pub Association.

Per capita drinking was up 0.6% in 2010 but was still 11% lower than in 2004 when a decline in UK consumption began. The data also shows that the UK ranks below the European average in terms of consumption.

BBPA data, published in its Statistical Handbook 2011, also shows that British alcohol taxes are now the second highest in the EU on beer and wine, and fourth highest on spirits.

UK taxes are now eight times higher than France, and 11 times higher than Germany, and even outstrip those of Scandinavia, with the exception of Finland.

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “Tax rates have soared to unprecedented levels at a time when household budgets are stretched. Huge, 35% rises in beer taxes in the past three years have been deeply damaging to British brewers, who operate one of our most innovative and successful manufacturing industries.

“The number of those drinking above health guidelines has been falling for a number of years and industry is rightly investing in responsible drinking campaigns – yet some still demand ever increasing restrictions and taxes. It’s time the debate caught up with the hard facts.”

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