On-trade beer sales continue to plummet
27 October, 2008
By James Wilmore
BBPA figures show 1.8 million less pints were sold in three months to September
Beer sales in pubs, bars and restaurants dropped 8.1 per cent between July and September year-on-year, new figures have revealed.
The British Beer & Pub Association’s quarterly Beer Barometer found that 161 million fewer pints were sold – 1.8 million less a day – compared to the same three-month period last year.
It is the biggest drop-off in sales in the third quarter of the year for a decade – and has prompted fresh calls for the government to abandon its beer duty escalator, announced in the Budget.
Total beer sales in the on-trade and off-trade are also down 7.2 per cent.
The off-trade has witnessed its first fall in sales since the second quarter of 2007, with a six per cent drop in the three-month period to September.
The BBPA claimed the Treasury was now facing a £1.2 billion tax shortfall, in real terms, over the next three years compared with its forecasts.
The trade group also estimates the Treasury has collected £138 million less in beer duty and VAT in the six months since the Budget.
In the year to September, beer sales fell by 4.4 per cent compared with the previous year. Sales in pubs, bars and restaurants are down nine per cent, while off-trade sales are up 2.1 per cent overall.
Rob Hayward, the BBPA’s chief executive, said: “The accelerating decline in beer sales is a clear sign of a worsening economy, worried households and weakening spending.
“Sinking beer sales and the record five pubs a day closing is a barometer of the UK economic climate. We’re busy responding to the economic challenges of today. But we need greater flexibility.
“Government needs to be looking to ease the constraints of the tax and regulatory burden on our sector. We’re not looking for a handout just a hand-up. They must abandon their current plans to increase beer taxes by a third through a new tax escalator.
"They should also pull back from their current alcohol policy agenda which would introduce even more regulation on how alcohol is produced and sold in Britain.”