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UK drinking less alcohol

Drop continues for second year running


A glass of red wine.

Alcohol consumption in the UK has fallen for the second year running, a pub industry body said today.

The 3.3% year-on-year dip recorded in 2006 was the largest in 15 years, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA)’s figures show.

Drinkers got through on average 8.9 litres of alcohol per person in 2006 compared to 9.4 litres in 2004.

This relates to the pure alcohol content consumed across all different drink types.


Beer now makes up 43% of the nation’s alcohol consumption, with wine at 29% and spirits at 20%. The remaining 8% relates to cider and other drinks.

That breakdown compares to 1990 when beer had a bigger slice of the market at 57%, with spirits at 22% and wine at just 18%.

The BBPA’s figures, included in its annual Statistical Handbook, are based on data from HM Revenue & Customs which are doubled-checked against sales data from BBPA members.

Drinking habits

BBPA director of communications Mark Hastings said: ‘Although it is too early to say if this is a long term trend, these are certainly very interesting figures in view of the intense public debate in recent months about Britain’s drinking habits.’

The figures relate to total alcohol consumption both in pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants and in homes.

The BBPA’s members account for 98% of beer brewed in the UK and own more than half of Britain’s 60,000 pubs.

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