Less than half of pupils (45%) aged 11 to 15 have tried alcohol, down from 61% in 2003.
The survey of 6,519 pupils in 219 schools throughout England in the autumn term of 2011 also found 12% of pupils had consumed alcohol in the past week, down from 26% in 2001.
Andrew Cowan, country director of Diageo Great Britain, said: “It is encouraging to see that yet again the proportion of young people who drink is falling and that those who have never had a drink has risen by 40% since 2001.
“The statistics go to show that profound shifts are taking place in this generation’s attitude towards alcohol.
“It shows the good results that can occur when the Government, schools, parents, Drinkaware, Industry funded programmes and young people themselves all work together to tackle an important issue.”