Beer contributes a collective EUR57bn (US$83bn) per year to national economies in Europe, according to a new report on the European beer market.

Governments across the EU's 27 member states, plus Turkey, Croatia, Norway and Switzerland, receive a total EUR57bn from the brewing industry, largely thanks to value added and excise taxes, according to a report on the European beer sector by Ernst & Young.

Governments also derive income from the industry via social security contributions and income tax, although VAT and excise taxes make up around two thirds of the total contribution, says the report, which was commissioned by industry body Brewers of Europe.

It adds that 2.5m jobs across the EU-27, plus the four non-EU members, "can be attributed to the production and sale of beer".

The figure is roughly equivalent to 1% of all jobs in the EU 27 nations.

"Governments would be wise to value those facts when discussing about levelling additional burdens such as tax increases on the shoulders of Europe's brewers," said Brewers of Europe secretary general Rodolphe de Looz-Corswarem at the launch of the report last week.

The estimated number of breweries in Europe has risen by 25% in the last three years, from around 3,000 in 2006 to more than 3,700 this year, the report says.

Europe, it adds, remains the world's largest beer producer, on 427m hectolitres per year. China is second on around 393m hectolitres.

To see a full copy of the report, click here.