UK: UK drinkers consuming less - figures
Alcohol consumption in the UK has dropped for the second consecutive year, according to industry figures.
Speaking to just-drinks today (12 October), a spokesperson for the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said that levels of alcohol consumption over the last year have fallen and currently stand at their lowest in the past five years.
The spokesperson said: "There have been changes to pub licensing laws, meaning there's less pressure for people to drink against the clock. Also, responsible drinking messages are beginning to take effect. It has been a two-year trend, both in the on-trade and the off-trade."
The BBPA also indicated there have been significant changes in what we drink over the past 25 years. The amount of alcohol consumed in the UK is now 8.9 litres per person per year, compared with 9.4 litres in 2004. In 1980, 60% of total consumption was beer, 24% was spirits and 14% wine. Now, beer accounts for 43% of consumption, spirits 20% with wine increasing to 29%.
"The fall of 3.3% in 2006 is the largest in 15 years and comes on top of a 2% drop in 2005," the spokesperson added. "In total, consumption has fallen by 5.3% over the past two years."
BBPA director of communications Mark Hastings added: "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. While a small minority continue to use alcohol in an irresponsible way, it's clear that the change in the nation's licensing laws hasn't unleashed an apocalyptic 'free for all' in alcohol consumption."
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