The UK has emerged as Europe's biggest binge drinking nation despite a fall in the total amount of alcohol consumed on a night out.

Brits were found to be drinking 63ml (6.3 units) of alcohol on a typical occasion, down from 68ml in 2000 but still by far the highest rate in Europe.

The UK was followed by Germany, at 55ml per occasion. The best-behaved nation was Sweden, with consumption per occasion at 31ml.

Total European on-trade alcohol consumption volumes fell by 0.5% a year between 2000 and 2005, with an especially steep decline in the UK and Germany. Total on-trade alcohol volume in the UK has fallen from 272m litres in 2000, to 251m litres in 2005.

The rates were found in a report released today (7 April) by independent market analyst Datamonitor.

The total volume of alcohol sold in the on-trade was not changing significantly in most of Western Europe, Datamonitor said. The Netherlands has seen volumes rise by 1.6% a year, while all other countries have seen somewhere between a 0.5% annual decline and a 1% annual increase.

Datamonitor analyst John Band said: "Going out is becoming less and less about drinking, and alcohol consumption is becoming something that people do at home. It's clear that the culture of binge drinking is on its way out, with British consumption per occasion falling closer in line with the levels seen on the Continent."
 
The report also suggests that the gender gap between European drinkers is narrowing. Between 2005 and 2010, women's share of European on-trade drinks consumption will grow at 1.5% a year, according to Datamonitor.
 
"The growth in women's on-trade drinking has been driven partly by changing demographics, getting married or having a family restricts going-out opportunities, but women in Europe are increasingly doing this at a later age. At the same time, pubs and drinks companies are working hard to provide attractive drinking experiences to female drinkers," added Band.