The US division of the world second largest brewer SABMiller, Miller Brewing Co, was reported to have spent close to US$2m lobbying Congress and federal agencies, in the last year.

The figure was reported by The Associated Press, which said it was the highest amount spent by any brewer in the year on lobbying.

In its report, The AP reviewed lobbying reports by Miller and other beer companies from July 1, 2002 to June 30 of this year. The press agency found that Miller Brewing spent US$1.84m. In second place was the country's leading brewer Anheuser-Busch, which spent US$1.49m, while Coors Brewing spent US$360,000.

The beer industry has lobbied on two fronts in the last year, once against legislation that sought to increase tax to pay for alcohol abuse prevention programs and once in favour of legislation that would have cut the tax in half. Neither bill was passed.