beer sales still sliding

beer sales still sliding

Beer sales slipped by 5% in the UK in the first quarter of 2010 as the industry added freezing weather conditions to its list of problems.

Sales by volume of beer across the UK fell by 9% in the on-trade for the three months to the end of March, continuing a theme of decline from 2008 and 2009.Retail beer sales only shrank by 0.5% for the quarter, however, according to the figures published by the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) today (21 May).

It blamed freezing weather conditions in January and February for exacerbating a difficult time for pubs, which are closing at a rate of around 40 per week.
However, the relatively stronger showing in retail prompted the BBPA to speak of "some signs of an underlying improvement in the sector". The rate of decline in beer volumes eased to 3.5% in the year to March 2010, from 4.2% in the previous year, the trade body said.

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds appealed to the new UK Government to act on tax in its planned Budget announcement on 22 June.

"Over the last two years beer taxes have increased 26%, raising costs by GBP761m (US$1.1bn) during a time of deep recession," said Simmonds.

“We are looking for a new Government to approach the issue of beer taxation with a fresh pair of eyes. Both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have stated that beer taxation needs reform and pubs need support because of their value to communities. It’s time to deliver on those promises."

If the Government raises value added tax as expected, the BBPA has called for a cut in duty tax as compensation.