Average beer price breaks £3 barrier

By Becky Paskin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Beer United kingdom

The average cost of a pint of beer has reached over £3
The average cost of a pint of beer has reached over £3
The average cost of a pint of beer has broken the £3 barrier, as increasing taxes force prices up across the UK on-trade.

The average cost of a pint of lager now sits at £3.08, while the cost of a pint of bitter is slightly cheaper at £2.69, according to the British Beer and Pub Association’s Statistical Handbook 2011.

The figures are a marked difference to last year's publication, which reported the average pint of bitter as £2.58 and lager as £2.95.

This year’s Handbook found beer was the cheapest in the North East, but 50 per cent more expensive in London – a differential increase of 15 per cent since last year.

But despite increasing beer prices, the sector’s decline in consumption finally levelled out in 2010, with sales mildly increasing by 0.6 per cent – a level that is however still 11 per cent lower than 2004 data when the marked decline in UK beer consumption began.

UK Consumption of alcohol

Alcohol consumption

The report also found that the gap between British alcohol taxes and those of its major EU neighbours grew in 2011.

UK alcohol taxes are now eight times higher than France and 11 times higher than Germany. Britain now pays the second highest rate on beer and wine in the EU and the fourth highest on spirits.

Overall EU consumption of alcohol

EU alcohol consumption

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the BBPA, said it was time a debate was based on ‘hard facts’.

“Alcohol consumption per head is 11 per cent lower than in was in 2004. Tax rates have soared to unprecedented levels at a time when household budgets are stretched. Huge, 35 per cent rises in beer taxes in the past three years have been deeply damaging to British brewers, who operate one of our most innovative and successful manufacturing industries.

“The number of those drinking above health guidelines has been falling for a number of years [ONS General Lifestyle Survey] and industry is rightly investing in responsible drinking campaigns - yet some still demand ever increasing restrictions and taxes. It’s time the debate caught up with the hard facts.”

The BBPA based its figures on Treasury tax returns.

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