Beer is the most popular alcoholic drink, by volume sold, according to the latest research from the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA).

Compiled using data provided by HMRC, analysis revealed that 8.5 billion pints of beer (48,559,000 hectolitres) were sold in the UK last year.

This compares with 7.4bn 175ml glasses of wine (12,901,700 hectolitres) and 1.2 billion pints of cider (6,804,000 hectolitres) over the same period.

But despite its popularity, the BBPA says it is unfairly taxed compared to other nations in Europe – with Brits paying 11 more in beer duty than drinkers in Germany or Spain.

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “It is clear from these numbers that beer is the most popular alcoholic drink, but it is without doubt overtaxed. In fact, we pay 11 times more beer tax than Germany or Spain. Because the public finances assume an RPI increase every year, we also face another tax hike on top of that in the next Budget.

“Should tax on a pint continue to rise then drinking in the pub will no longer be affordable for many British beer drinkers, meaning pubs will continue to close. This is why we are backing the Long Live the Local campaign, calling on the Chancellor to cut beer tax and support local pubs.”

The data, collated for the BBPA’s new 2019 Statistical Handbook, also showed that 100 new breweries opened last year, taking the total number to 2,530 – an increase of 2,030 breweries since the year 2000.

Earlier this week it was announced that the BBPA had appointed Emma McClarkin as its new chief executive, replacing Brigid Simmonds who steps down on 11 October.

McClarkin, who will take up the role in early November, is currently working as a global consultant following a 10-year term as a Member of the European Parliament.