Beer sales slide from last year

Beers sales are down 4.5% this quarter, compared with the same period
last year, adding more weight to the growing concerns over the impact of
rising prices.

The figures, according to the UK Quarterly Beer Barometer, published by
the British Beer & …

Beers sales are down 4.5% this quarter, compared with the same period last year, adding more weight to the growing concerns over the impact of rising prices.

The figures, according to the UK Quarterly Beer Barometer, published by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), 107 million fewer pints were sold in April to June this year compared with the same quarter in 2007 – a fall of 1.2 million pints a day.

Beer sales in pubs, bars and restaurants are down 10.6% over the same period. The on-trade sold 144 million fewer pints during April to June this year compared with the same quarter in 2007 – down 1.6 million pints a day.

According to the BBPA, in just three short months, the BBPA estimates the Treasury has collected £88m less in beer duty and VAT than in the same period last year. Also sales, in supermarkets and shops, have continued to rise however, with a 3.8% increase on April to June 2007, confirming a long-term trend towards drinking at home.

Over the first half of 2008, beer sales are down by 2.9% compared with the same period in 2007 – sales in pubs, bars and restaurants are down 9.6%, while sales in supermarkets and off-licences are up 7.4%. Total beer sales in 2007 were 3.9% down on sales in 2006.

BBPA Chief Executive, Rob Hayward, say: “Beer sales are on the slide and the tax increase in the Budget has made it worse. This is hitting Britain’s brewers and pubs hard. It’s also creating a large hole in the Chancellor’s pocket with the Treasury’s tax take also down. This must call into question the Government’s planned beer tax escalator. Where’s the logic in taxing more when you’re taking less?

“Ministers said at the time of the Budget they were increasing alcohol taxes to raise extra revenue to help pensioners with the winter fuel payment and families with children with child benefit and child tax credit increases. Who is now going to be taxed to fill the black hole?

“With around one million jobs reliant on the trade, the loss of 1.6 million pints a day is having a serious impact, not just on the sector itself, but on the UK economy as a whole. Beer sales in pubs are now at their lowest level since the Great Depression of the 1930s – down seven million pints a day from the height of the market in 1979.”

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