UK beer sales are continuing to decline

UK beer sales are continuing to decline

Off-trade beer sales in the UK fell at a higher rate than on-trade sales in the last quarter of 2012, new figures have revealed. 

The British Beer & Pub Association's quarterly 'Beer Barometer', published today (25 January), shows that off-trade sales in the three months to the end of December were down by 7.5% year-on-year to the equivalent of 3.7m barrels. Sales in the on-trade were down by 4.8% to 3.6m barrels in the same period.

Overall UK beer sales dropped by 6.2% in the fourth quarter. 

The BBPA said the figures showed a “pressing need” for the UK Government to review its alcohol duty escalator in the upcoming Budget in March. Under the escalator system, duty is automatically raised 2% above inflation, currently until 2014/15. 

A major industry campaign against the measure has so far failed to change the Goverment's stance on the issue

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds, said: “We’ve had tax hikes of 42% since March 2008, which is hugely damaging and completely unacceptable for such an important manufacturing sector.” 

Figures released in September showed that UK on-trade beer sales in the on-trade still marginally outweigh sales in shops.