Alcohol consumption in the UK has fallen to its lowest level this century, while the number of breweries is continuing to soar, according to latest industry figures.

Per capita consumption in 2013 fell by 1.7% to 7.8 litres of alcohol, figures from the British Beer & Pub Association showed. This represents an 18.1% drop since 2004, while litres-per-head consumption stood at 8.4 in the year 2000. 

The trade body’s annual ‘statistical handbook’ also revealed a drop in drinking among young people. In 2013, 39% of 11- to 15-year-olds had drunk alcohol in their life, compared to 43% in 2012 and 61% in 2001.

Brigid Simmonds, the BBPA’s chief executive, said: “It’s great to see trends in alcohol harms coming down, showing that investment by the industry and partnership with Government, through targeted measures, is having a positive impact.” 

The handbook also highlighted Britain’s growing craft brewing industry. According to latest figures, there are now 1,442 breweries in the UK, up 190 on 2012 and 188% more than in 2000.

Earlier this week, the Portman Group flagged Government figures showing a sharp fall in alcohol-related crime.