You're here: Home / Alcohol knowledge centre / Consumption


Alcohol consumption in Great Britain has risen per head of the adult population during the post-war years, more than doubling between the mid-1950s and late 1990s, when it hit double figures for the first time. It has fallen slightly from a peak of 11.6 litres in 2004; periods of slow economic activity in recent years may have contributed to this relative decline. Men consume on average more than twice as much alcohol – mainly beer – on a weekly basis as women, although in terms of amounts drunk, women now consume more units of wine than men in total.

There has also been a long-term increase in the proportion of alcohol purchased from off-licenced outlets and consumed at home rather than in pubs and bars; British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) figures estimate that twice as much alcohol is now bought from off-licenced premises as from pubs and other on-licenced premises. This is thought to be due to the increased affordability of alcoholic beverages from off-licence vendors, relative to the cost of purchasing drinks in pubs and bars.

Click on links opposite to view individual factsheets, or on the image below to download the pdf: