Consumption of alcohol per head in the UK last year was 18% down on 2004 peak.

The British Beer & Pub Association’s Annual Statistical handbook 2016 shows UK beer consumption fell again last year and remains below the average EU level – at around 72 litres per head.

The handbook also shows that UK beer duty is 54% higher than it was in 2000, despite recent cuts to the duty rate. The BBPA says the data here shows that much more work needs to be done to cut beer duty in the UK, with the UK rate still 14 times that of Germany.

The data also shows the extent to which brewery numbers have increased – up by 1,380 between 2000 and 2015.

On employment trends, the handbook shows that 54% of pub staff in the UK are female.

On beer trends, cask ale continued to make up 8.2% of the total beer market, with the very significant shift from ales and stouts to lagers, observed over the last 40 years, beginning to reverse.

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the BBPA, said: “Many of the figures detailed in our updated Stats Handbook are encouraging for our industry, but the UK’s high duty rate on beer is still a cause for concern. We will continue to work with the Government to bring our rate more in line with other European nations and help better support our industry.

“Our new handbook again underlines that with the right policies for the beer and pub sector, there is huge scope for us to help grow the economy, creating new jobs and careers, with great venues and beers.”