UK: Beer sales continue to fall in 2010 – figures

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Beer sales continued to fall in the UK in 2010 due to lower demand in the country’s on-trade, show new figures from the British Beer & Pub Association.
Beer sales fell by 4% in volume for the 12 months to the end of December, as a 7.5% drop in the pub sector overshadowed a slight increase of 0.6% in the off-trade, the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) said today (25 January).
The figures underline the pressure on the UK beer sector, exacerbated by pub closures, and follow declines of 4% and 5.5% in beer volumes in 2009 and 2008 respectively. In 2010, a record drop in demand in the third quarter and poor weather before Christmas helped to offset a boost from the FIFA World Cup in June.
BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds used the figures to argue that there is no scope for further tax rises on beer. “Beer has always been a rich revenue source for Government – but they may now be cooking the golden goose,” she said.
“The Government should abandon plans for above inflation hikes in beer tax in the Budget, as further rises are simply unsustainable,” she added.
Duty tax on beer has risen by around 25% in the last two-and-a-half years and duty on beer, wine and spirits is set to increase by another 2% above inflation in the Government’s 2011 Budget, to be announced in March. Pub beer sales have slumped by a fifth in the last three years, the BBPA said.