China maintained the top spot in the beer league in 2006, according to recent data.

Japanese company Kirin Holdings said yesterday (17 December) that China topped the table of beer consuming countries last year, marking its fourth consecutive year in the number one spot. The amount of beer China consumed in 2006 rose by 14.8% on 2005, hitting 350m hectolitres, Kirin said.

The US maintained its second place, with total consumption in 2006 reaching 245m hectolitres. Rising two places to number three, meanwhile, was Russia, with 96m hectolitres of consumption. Japan held sixth spot, despite a 0.7% dip in volumes consumed.

In per capita terms, China was only 53rd in 2006, Kirin noted, with 27.6 litres per person, way behind top-placed Czech, which recorded per capita consumption of 161.5m litres last year.

Total beer consumption around the world rose again in 2006 - for the 21st consecutive year - by 5.8% to 1.65bn hectolitres.

The positions were calculated from data collated from beer industry organisations in other countries, Kirin noted.