Ernst & Young presented a report for Brewers of Europe in Brussels this week that claims Europe remains the world's top beer producer.

Here are five facts about the European beer industry. In the study, Europe equates to the 27 EU member states plus Croatia, Turkey, Norway and Switzerland.

1. On an annual basis, Europe produces 427m hectolitres of beer. This figure is ahead of China, which produces 393m and the US, which produces 234m. Germany remained Europe's largest beer producer (103m hectolitres), followed by the UK (49.5m hl), Poland (36.9m hl) and Spain (33.4m hl). 

2. The number of breweries across Europe has grown almost 25% in the last three years, up from around 3,000 in 2006 to 3,733 today. Germany has by far the most breweries, with 1,330 in total.

3. Directly and indirectly 2.5m jobs in Europe can be attributed to the beer producing and selling sector, which brings Europe's national governments a total EUR57bn in beer tax revenues.

4. Since 2006, the general business conditions for Europe's brewers have overall deteriorated. Agricultural raw materials and the overall associated costs of production are up (nearly 24%) and taxes (up nearly 30% in the Netherlands) have gone up dramatically in some countries, while the general economic downturn has put further strains on the sector.  Since the beginning of the year, 16 European countries have raised excises taxes on beer.

5. In the UK, a typical pint of lager costs GBP2.81 - up five pence on 2008. A typical pint of bitter now costs GBP2.49 - up eight pence. UK consumption of alcohol per head remains in the mid-range compared with its European neighbours, with britons drinking less than the French, Germans and Spanish. Czechs drink the most per head, at 12.4 litres of alcohol, compared to the UK's 8.1 litres.

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