UK: Beer market shrinks more slowly - figures

By | 28 January 2010

Beer volumes down 3.6% in Q4

Beer volumes down 3.6% in Q4

The UK beer market shrank at a slower rate in the final three months of 2009, official figures show.

Beer sales by volume fell 3.6% for the three months to the end of December, compared to the same period of 2008, trade body the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) said today (28 January).

It heralded the figure, which is the lowest fourth quarter fall since 2006, as a sign that the sector is emerging from a "recessionary slump". The UK economy officially moved out of recession in the same quarter.

"As the economy moves into recovery, so will the beer and pub sector," said BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds. "In fact, as in previous recessions, it may emerge first and fastest."

Beer volumes for the whole of 2009 fell by 4.2%, against a 5.5% decline in 2008.

UK beer volumes slipped by just 0.8% in the third quarter of 2009, to the end of September, but this followed steeper falls of 5% and 8% in the first and second quarters respectively.

In the final quarter, the on-trade continued to perform worse, with volumes down 5%, against an off-trade that saw a 2% drop. 

Simmonds said she was cautious on recovery, particularly following duty tax rises on beer over the last 18 months.

"It’s too early to say whether these indicators of fragile recovery will turn into a trend, particularly when we await to see the impact of shocks such as the VAT increase and big freeze of this month."

Some brewers have performed well above the industry trend in 2009. Greene King, which brews Old Speckled Hen and Abbot Ale yesterday reported beer volumes up 7% in the 38 weeks to 24 January.

Sectors: Beer & cider

Companies: Greene King

View next/previous articles

Currently reading -

UK: Beer market shrinks more slowly - figures

There is currently 1 comment on this article

Whilst the rate of decline may well be slowing, I think that it may well be somewhat foolhardy to start trumpeting this as a recovery. Beer has a long way to go to re-establish lost ground to other alcoholic drinks, especially wine It is more then likley that whilst volume declines may slow and even stop a rise may be unlikley all the while other drink options remain more fashionable and/or socially acceptableWink


Brian George - Get Wine Wise said at 11:17 pm, January 28, 2010

Reply to this comment

Related articles

UK: Greene King CEO in minimum price plea

The CEO of brewer and pub owner Greene King has called for a fresh industry code on alcohol sales and for the Government to implement minimum pricing on drinks.

UK: Greene King grabs beer market share

Greene King has taken more share of the UK beer market after outperforming the sector over its most recent fiscal year.

Focus - Innis & Gunn out to conquer the US

UK brewer Innis & Gunn is looking to build on strong sales momentum by expanding its presence in the buoyant market for craft beers in the US.

just-drinks tagline

Not a member? Join here

Decrease font sizeDecrease font sizeDecrease font size Increase font sizeIncrease font sizeIncrease font size Comment on this article Email this to a friend Print this page