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Monday, 24 September, 2001, 08:19 GMT 09:19 UK
Beer sales 'at 30-year low'
No beer
Beer is off the menu for many Britons
The amount of beer drunk in Britain has sunk to a 30-year low because of a rising demand for wine and spirits, a survey suggests.

Beer consumption has fallen steadily year on year, dropping by 3.7% in 2000 alone, figures indicate.

Meanwhile sales of wine shot up by 8.5% last year, and sales of spirits rose by 2%, according to the survey published in The Publican newspaper.

Tony Jerome, spokesman for the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), said the fall in beer sales was due to the low quality of beer being produced by the beer market.

"Drinkers have been looking for a better quality product," he said.

Alcopops
There is a rising demand for spirit-based drinks

"People drink beer in pubs, wine with meals and spirits in bars."

Rob Hayward, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), formerly the Beer and Licensed Retailers Association, said the beer sales slump was also due to the "internationalisation" of the British.

Price of a pint

"People take holidays in the Mediterranean and drink wine in Spain, Portugal, Italy," he said.

"They are eating out more and more and tend to drink wine with a meal.

"Beer sales have been declining since 1971 because of the public's changing tastes.

"There has been a transfer to wine and spirit-based drinks.

"It is something that the industry is trying to reverse."

pub
Each year, Britons spend more than 15bn on beer
City analysts blame the trend on the rising price of a pint.

Mr Hayward said: "The duty on beer is excessive.

"It encourages smuggling and increases prices in general."

Despite this, the BBPA maintains that beer is still the nation's favourite alcoholic drink.

Each year, Britons spend more than 15bn on beer.

And on an average day in Britain, almost 27 million pints of beer are brewed and 29 million drunk - six times more than the amount of wine consumed and "way, way more than spirits" according to industry experts.

See also:

17 Jul 01 | UK
Time called on boozing?
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