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11th September 2012

Britain beer tax gap widens – new beer and pub statistics handbook

The tax gap endured by British beer drinkers when compared to our EU neighbours has reached new heights and must be addressed – so says British Beer & Pub Association Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds, commenting on the publication of the association’s Statistical Handbook 2012 – the leading statistics bible for the beer and pub industry.

Pint for pint, British beer drinkers now pay nine times more Beer Tax than the French, and an astonishing 13 times more than the Germans. In the EU, only Finland slaps a higher tax on beer than the UK Treasury. The trend is set to continue, with the Government’s controversial beer duty escalator if action isn’t taken, says Mrs Simmonds.

As always, there is a wealth of statistical data in the new statistics handbook, both national and international.  Other highlights include:

UK Alcohol consumption per capita fell once again in 2011, from 8.4 to 8.3 litres per head (table D3), and is now 12 per cent lower than in 2004.

  • The decline in numbers of young people (11-15 year olds) drinking alcohol over the last decade (table D11) has been significant, falling by 29 per cent since 2008.
  • At 946, Britain has more breweries than at any time since the 1930s, up from 840 the previous year (table L11).
  • The average price of a pint of beer in tenanted/leased pubs was £2.85, £2.87 in independent pubs and £2.91 in managed pubs (table E13)
  • 52 per cent of beer, 19 per cent of wine, 38 per cent of cider, 21 per cent of spirits and 44 per cent of FABs are sold through the on-trade (table D10)
  • The Czech Republic remains the largest consumer of alcohol in the EU, at 11.8 litres per capita (table K8).


Brigid Simmonds comments: “Behind these numbers lie the key issues facing our industry. With almost 1 million jobs depending on the beer and pub sector, action is needed to bring the tax on beer more into line with neighbouring states. This and a wealth of other data should prove an essential reference took for anyone wanting to understand this unique British industry.”



For further information please contact:


David Wilson, Director of Public Affairs: 020 7627 9151 /

Neil Williams, Communications Manager Tel: (020) 7627 9156 / 07974 249 779

Gareth Barrett, Public Affairs Officer Tel: (020) 7627 9154


Notes to editors:

Copies of BBPA Statistical Handbook 2012 can be purchased from the BBPA website here:


Cover image pdf attached


The BBPA’s Statistical Handbook 2012 is a vital resource for anyone interested in the UK drinks industry. Most tables provide historic trends going back between five and 100 years. Data is gathered from a wide variety of sources and many tables are derived from surveys of members and other research exclusive to the BBPA. Copies are available from the British Beer & Pub Association, and can be purchased via the BBPA’s website at Further details are available here.


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 own half of Britain’s 51,000 pubs.


An e-petition calling on the Government to scrap the beer duty escalator has nearly 100,000 signatures. The e-petition was launched by the Hobgoblin brand in February and is actively supported by many other brewing and pub companies. To sign the e-petition, go to or search for ‘Stop the Beer Duty Escalator’.



Neil Williams

Communications Manager

British Beer & Pub Association

020 7627 9156

07974 249 779