Beer has been confirmed as Britain’s favorite alcoholic drink, according to data published by the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) in its annual Statistical Handbook.

Using data provided by HMRC, the BBPA conducted analysis which found that, in 2018, 8.5 billion pints (48,559,000 hectolitres) of beer were sold in the UK — more than any other alcoholic drink.

In comparison, 7.4bn 175ml glasses of wine (the equivalent to 12,901,700hl) and 1.2bn pints of cider (6,804,000hl) were sold over the same period.

Data collated by the BBPA for its 2019 Statistical Handbook also found that 100 new breweries opened in the UK in 2018, taking the total number of UK breweries to 2,530 — an increase of 2,030 since 2000.

The BBPA says that although beer is the best-selling and most popular alcoholic drink, it remains over-taxed in the UK.

At present, Brits pay 11 times more beer duty than drinkers in Germany or Spain, paying 54p in beer duty on a 5% ABV pint of beer. This is despite beer being vital to the UK’s manufacturing sector, with 82% of the beer brewed in the UK being drunk in the UK.

Britain’s Beer Alliance is calling on the Chancellor to cut beer tax at the next Budget

Combined, pubs and brewing create almost 900,000 jobs in the UK, says the BBPA. In pubs alone, seven in every ten alcoholic drinks sold are beer, making beer tax a particular burden.

The BBPA is, therefore, continuing to back the Long Live the Local campaign, led by Britain’s Beer Alliance. The campaign is calling on the Chancellor to cut beer tax at the next budget to support community locals who sell a higher proportion of beer, making them particularly sensitive to beer tax hikes.

Alongside this, the BBPA is also campaigning to reduce high business rates that also disproportionately affect pubs.

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the BBPA, said: “It is clear from these numbers that beer is the most popular alcoholic drink, but it is, without doubt, overtaxed. In fact, we pay 11 times more beer tax than Germany or Spain. Because the public finances assume an RPI increase every year, we also face another tax hike on top of that in the next Budget.

“Should tax on a pint continue to rise, then drinking in the pub will no longer be affordable for many British beer drinkers, meaning pubs will continue to close. This is why we are backing the Long Live the Local campaign, calling on the Chancellor to cut beer tax and support local pubs.”

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