• Decline is the worst in BBPA records
  • World Cup sales boost a blip
  • BBPA chief asks Gov't for tax break
UK beer sales slump in Q3 - British Beer & Pub Association

UK beer sales slump in Q3 - British Beer & Pub Association

After a brief respite during the FIFA World Cup, UK beer sales have slumped back into the pattern of decline that has dogged the sector in recent years, according to the British Beer & Pub Association.

UK consumers bought 10% less beer - around 88m pints - in the three months to the end of September than in the same period of 2009, the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) said today (26 October). It is the worst quarterly rate of decline in the BBPA's published figures, dating back to 1997.

Retailers were hardest-hit, reporting volume sales down by 12%, with pub beer sales down by 8%.

The gloomy figures mark a return to the sequence of quarterly declines in the beer market, indicating that a promotion-led surge in off-trade sales in May and June was purely down to the FIFA World Cup. Unfortunately for the sector, this tournament only takes place once every four years.

"As has occurred after every World Cup, the beer market hit a bump in the road, which was not helped by a wet summer," said the BBPA's chief executive, Brigid Simmonds.

"But, these exceptional factors are underlaid by lingering economic and consumer uncertainty," she said. "Concern about the impact of public spending cuts on jobs and incomes and the forthcoming VAT and beer tax rises are feeding that unease."

Simmonds used the figures to put pressure on the Government to give beer and pubs "a break". Ministers are currently reviewing the UK's alcohol licensing and taxation rules as part of Government efforts to reduce excess drinking.