Buy British and Bring Beer Back to the Table This Christmas

By The British Beer And Pub Association, PRNE
Sunday, December 12, 2010

LONDON, December 13, 2010 - New figures[1] reveal that our 'thirst' for imported wine is posing a
threat to the UK brewing industry and our national drink, beer. The latest
annual trade statistics released by HM Revenue & Customs, suggest that less
than 1% of the wine consumed in the UK is actually British - while nearly 90%
of beer sold in this country is also produced here.

And now, with the continuing consumer vogue for sourcing products locally
for special occasions such as Christmas - from organic turkey to home grown
veg - Britain's brewers are urging people to put beer back on the menu. Beer
produced in the UK is crafted using brewing processes that have remained
unchanged for generations, using natural, healthy ingredients sourced at a
regional level - from the hops, malt to the water and yeast. So in fact, beer
is a classic example of a locally sourced product[1]. In fact, a recent Ernst
and Young report found that 85% of goods and services used by Britain's
brewers to produce beer were sourced from within the UK. This rose to over
90% for regional brewers.

Whatever your tipple, raising a glass in festive cheer goes hand-in-hand
with the season of goodwill. However, despite the fact that the latest
consumer research[2] shows that beer is the preferred drink of a quarter
(24%) of people in the UK, in recent years champagne has been top of the
Christmas-beverage shopping list.

Many of the misconceptions about beer - as an unsophisticated, unhealthy
and even anti-social choice - lead to it being overlooked at this time of
year. For example, foreign imports such as wine are more often served at
office parties, corporate celebrations or even home drinks parties. However,
people may be surprised to learn that beer is available in a diverse range of
flavours, aromas, colours and alcohol strengths (including alcohol free and
low-alcohol options) and matching beers with food is remarkably simple.

Beer not only has a glorious British heritage, but also boasts numerous
additional assets including myriad tastes, wholesome ingredients and
nutritional positives. In fact, a recent report Beer - the natural choice?[3]
revealed that beer is a rich source of vitamins, fibre, minerals and
antioxidants. Perhaps most surprisingly of all, it has a relatively low
calorific value compared to many other alcoholic drinks - putting paid to the
myth of the beer belly.

Calorie Comparison Table[4]

    Beverage                Energy (kcal)

    Beer, bitter 3.8% (1/2  85
    Lager, 4% (1/2 pint)    94
    Wine (175ml glass)      131
    Alcohol free lager      23
    Low alcohol lager 1.2%  33

For the 'designated driver' over Christmas, as well as those trying to
monitor their calorie intake, it is worth keeping in mind that beer is one of
the few alcoholic drinks where you can reduce the alcohol content and still
produce an enjoyable drink with good flavours and complexity.

As beer is primarily sold in single serve containers (i.e. a bottle or
can), keeping track of how much you are drinking, both in terms of calories
and alcoholic units is much easier than with self-pouring drinks such as wine
or spirits. A recent BBC study[5] found that while a single measure (25ml) of
a 40% spirit equates to around 1 unit of alcohol, most people considerably
over-estimated what a single measure was when asked to pour this themselves.

So, people worried about the effects of over-indulging on their
waistline, can be reassured that when drunk in moderation, beer can be part
of a healthy lifestyle and diet. Bringing in the New Year with a beer in 2011
should take on a whole different light.

Jonathan Neame, Chief Executive of Kent Brewer Shepherd Neame says; "If
people are looking to source a lower-alcohol, wholesome beverage, by and
large using locally grown produce, made and sold in the UK, they really need
look no further than Britain's beers. The range and diversity of styles will
also surprise many people. Many regional and local beer producers also launch
special festive 'brews' at this time of year, so when you're looking to stock
up your festive drinks cabinet, the answer may well be just around the

For more information on making beer a natural part of your festivities
this year, visit


1. HMRC Statistical Bulletin, November 2010

2. National Opinion Poll survey results, ICM research interviewed a
random sample of 2,004 adults aged 18+ via online between 26-28th February

3. Beer, the natural choice?, authored by national health journalist Isla
, commissioned by The Beer Academy

4. Data sources:, 'The wise drinkers guide'
produced by the Wine and Spirit Education Trust in partnership with Alcohol
in Moderation and McCance and Widdowson (6th Edition, 2002)

5. Home drinkers 'over pour spirits': BBC News Online, 31 December 2009

Ernst & Young (2008) The Contribution of beer to the UK economy

For further information please contact Caroline Beswick or Jo Gulliver at
Trinity PR on +44(0)20-8786-3860

For further information please contact Caroline Beswick or Jo Gulliver at Trinity PR on +44(0)20-8786-3860 or email caroline.beswick at

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