Blog: Beer sales run dry in the UK
Chris Mercer | 26 October 2010
UK beer sales are odds-on to show a further drop in 2010 following the worst quarterly decline on record.
Beer sales shrunk by a tenth in volume for the third quarter of this year, to the end of September, versus the same period of 2009. It's the biggest quarterly fall in records published by the British Beer & Pub Association, which date back to 1997.
Discount deals may have boosted volumes during the FIFA World Cup, but sales for 2010 now look to be heading the way of England's football flops. After dusting off the just-drinks calculator, we estimate that pubs and retailers would have to sell 8.321m barrels of beer in the fourth quarter for the industry to break even against 2009.
Although normally a decent period, generally due to Christmas-related promotions, the sector has not broken the 8m barrels barrier in a fourth quarter since 2007.
We can expect the rate of decay to soften in the fourth quarter of this year, even if only because the industry is facing an easier comparison with '09. But, consumer spending power remains under pressure, which may well exacerbate the long-term trend of decline.
That said, all headline figures mask individual successes and nightmares and the BBPA volume sales report is no exception. For example, cask ale sales volumes held steady in 2009 despite a 4% drop in the UK beer market overall.
There is also growing evidence that consumers are prepared to fish into their pockets for a bottle of high-end lager. SABMiller, which sells Peroni Nastro Azzurro in the UK, said in September that the group's volume sales in the country were rising 20% year-on-year, albeit from a very small base.
UK brewer Shepherd Neame, a million miles from the multinational reach of SABMiller, reported a 12% rise in volume sales of bottled beer for the 12 months to 26 June.
The beer sector is in decline, then, but there is clearly still consumer interest in the category.
This weekend sees yet another “International Day” for a drinks category. Lucky us. Anyway, ahead of Sunday’s International Cachaça Day, here’s a wealth of information on Brazil’s national spirit, cour...
In yet one more sign that The Coca-Cola Co is losing its lustre, the soft drinks maker has, for the first time, fallen out of the top ten of a 'world's biggest brands' ranking....
What a week for stats! Yesterday, the Beverage Marketing Corporation released figures to show the bottled water market had more than doubled over the past 15 years in the US....
The Euro 2016 football tournament is almost upon us....
- The post-Brexit winners and losers - Analysis
- What Brexit means for drinks industry? - Analysis
- What does Brexit mean for AB InBev's SAB deal?
- Why has Heineken made a Formula 1 U-turn?
- Interview - Seedlip founder, Ben Branson
- Carlsberg to close UK distribution arm
- Pernod Ricard exec shuffle - Denis O'Flynn leaves
- Major spirits M&A remains out of sight - analyst
- C&C Group will be a Brexit victim - analyst
- Pernod Ricard to shut down Morris Winery
- Adultifying Soft Drinks; Capitalizing on rising adult demand for non-alcoholic beverages
- Global Scotch whisky insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends
- Global non-Scotch whiskies insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends
- Global RTD insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends
- Spirits and Wine: Corporate Overview