The French drink less than previously thought, according to new figures that question the way the government has been measuring drinking statistics.

The APV (Association Presse du Vin) has claimed that the official statistics have aided the anti-drinking lobby, which is becoming increasingly powerful in France.

In fact, APV claims, the nation is only drinking 43 litres per head (a figure on a par with Spain and Italy), not 54l as previously thought.

This means the French are in fact ‘moderate and responsible’ rather than the biggest drinkers in the world, they according to Jerome Baudouin of the APV.

The reason for the discrepancy is that the national statistics office (Institut National de la Statistique et des Études Économiques) simply divides the amount of wine sold, by the number of inhabitants, the APV said at a Paris press conference last week.

‘The official statistics are at best misleading, at worse lies,’ Michel Bettane, APV president, told, suggesting that the figures were ‘influenced’ by the anti-alcohol lobby.

‘They consider that wines bought by around 60m tourists each year are in fact drunk by the French, and do not take into account that many wines are bought to be laid down for future consumption, or are bought over-the-border and taken back to other countries.

‘The anti-alcohol lobby is so powerful it can influence things at the highest level.’

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux