BEIJING: China is pulling away from the United States as the planet's biggest beer producer, according to figures released by Japanese brewer Kirin.

The world's most populous nation emerged as number one in the beer stakes for the fourth year running in 2005.

Its brewers produced 30.62 million kiloliters, a rise of 10.3% over 2004, while US production fell 0.7% to 23.08m kiloliters. Japan ranked seventh for the third consecutive year with production of 6.36m kiloliters, down 3.7%.

Data sourced from Asahi Shimbun Online; additional content by WARC staff