The WSTA claimed last years Budget was behind the slowdown

The WSTA claimed last year's Budget was behind the slowdown

Price increases in the UK off-trade have slowed in the past year, with the cost of beer declining, according to recent figures.

A report from the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), released today, shows that beer prices are down on average by 1% since March 2014. In the same period, wines and spirits increased prices by 2%, less than half the annual growth rate seen in the previous two years.

The WSTA claims the slowdown was due to the UK Government scrapping the alcohol duty escalator, cutting beer duty and freezing duty on spirits in March last year.

"What’s surprising is how quickly (the escalator's) abolition has fed through to help prices grow much more slowly," WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said.

The report also reveals:

  • On-trade volumes continued to decline (-2%) but at the slowest rate in five years
  • Overall on-trade value was up 2%, the first rise since 2013
  • Still wine volumes fell by 3% in the off-trade and by 2% in the on-trade, a fifth straight year of declines
  • Spirits volumes increased in the off-trade because of gin and vodka growth
  • On-trade volumes fell by 4%, with declines in whisk(e)y (-5%) and vodka (-6%)
  • On-trade Tequila volumes were up 17% and gin up 8%

In this month's 2015 Budget, the UK Government announced a 2% cut in the rate of duty on spirits and cider, while beer duty will come down by GBP0.01 a pint. Wine duty was frozen.