Beer sales struggle in third quarter
26 October, 2011
Beer sales are continuing to struggle, with the blame going on punitive taxes, latest British Beer and Pub Association figures for the third quarter of the year show.
The quarterly ‘Beer Barometer’ from the BBPA found that pub beer sales fell by 4.3% in the quarter from July to September—equivalent to 45 million fewer pints. The rate of decline is at least slowing from previous quarters, but it has not yet bottomed out.
There was some good news in the figures—total beer sales edged up 1.6% over the quarter, thanks to increasing trade through supermarkets and off-licences. But that just serves to highlight the discrepancy in prices between the on and off trade, the BBPA says.
It adds that recent beer tax hikes have outstripped any increases in people’s disposable incomes, risking pushing the pleasures of a pint in the pub out of the reach of many. Chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “It is good to see some growth in the beer market overall, and we are seeing some new pubs opening, with successful operators innovating, and broadening their offer to consumers. However, there is no doubt that pubs continue to bear the brunt of Britain’s punitive tax policies on beer. We’ve seen beer tax rise by 35% since March 2008, with Britons now paying an astonishing 40% of all the beer taxes collected in the entire European Union. This is still shutting pubs and costing jobs, in a sector that could create growth in the economy.”
The BBPA is calling for relief on tax and a scrapping of planned tax rises. “We know that given the right tax and regulatory environment we can grow the sector, hiring more staff, adding to the nation’s wealth and maintaining our proud pub heritage.”
For the full third quarter Beer Barometer figures, click here.