The UK consumed 21% less beer last year than in 2008

The UK consumed 21% less beer last year than in 2008

Beer consumption in Europe fell by 9% in the past five years as UK drinkers deserted the category, new figures have shown.

Europeans drank 362.3m hectolitres last year, 31.8m hectolitres less than in 2008, according to the 2014 Beer Statistics report from The Brewers of Europe, released today. The UK, Europe's second-biggest beer drinker, accounted for 9m hectolitres of the shortfall as consumption in the country dropped in the five-year period by 21%.

Germany, the top consumer in Europe, drank 5.2m hectolitres less in the same period, a 6% fall.

Despite the consumption decline, Brewers of Europe said direct employment and exports remained stable, “demonstrating that global demand for European beer remains high”.

Last year, the number of active brewers across the continent increased to 6,137, up from 3,580 in 2008, while microbreweries broke the 4,000 barrier for the first time.

Total exports last year stood at 77.7m hectolitres, a 15% increase on 2008, however overall beer production was down by 6% in the same period.

In March, The Brewers of Europe called for a “level playing field” with US brewers because the latter enjoy more favourable tax conditions on exports.

To read the full 2014 Beer Statistics report, click here.