A recent report has predicted a gloomy future for the beer market in the UK.

'Breweries & the Beer Market', a report by market intelligence providers Key Note, has warned that the beer market in the country will do well to remain static in growth terms in the coming years. The report, issued today (3 October), said that growth was hard to achieve last year, with consumption volumes regularly falling since 2003.

While prices paid for the average litre of beer have risen by 10.2% since 2002, beer's dominance of the alcoholic drinks market in the UK "is constantly under threat from continually changing drinking fashions", the report noted. In the five years to 2007, beer has lost market share to drinks such as white wine, RTDs and cider.

A combination of factors, such as the anti-alcohol and anti-obesity lobbies and general health awareness, coupled with the ban on smoking inside pubs and clubs, do not make for a promising future for the beer market, the report concluded.

"Beer plays a central role in British social life and any dramatic collapse of the market is difficult to imagine," Key Note said. "The main threat to the market could lie in a social movement away from alcohol entirely - with the anti-alcohol lobby (obviously) and the anti-obesity lobby including beer as a major target."