Second quarter UK beer sales saw the biggest drop since 1997, according to new figures from the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA).
The BBPA said in the second quarter of 2011, overall beer volumes for the 12 months to June 2011 fell by 7.1 per cent.
The UK Quarterly Beer Barometer showed that beer sales declined by 9.8 per cent, pub sales were down 4.5 per cent, with sales in supermarkets and shops down 15 per cent.
“Beer sales are a barometer of Britain’s economic confidence. With last year’s sales figures benefiting from the World Cup effect, which has historically boosted sales, sustaining volumes was always a challenge,” said Brigid Simmonds, BBPA chief executive.
However, the cumulative impact of tax rises of 10p per pint in pubs in Q2 severely dampened this positive impact, claims the BBPA.
“The Royal Wedding gave a welcome boost to this quarter’s beer sales, but beer tax rises are now hitting our brewers hard and undermining recovery.”
The chief executive said duty increases were fuelling inflation and stifling investment.
“Taxing beer fairly would create thousands of new jobs and substantial extra tax revenues at a time when we are all looking for private-sector led recovery,” he said.
This month Molson Coors rolled out a new female-targeted beer which it claimed could tap into a ?396m opportunity in the UK if it could achieve its aim of getting more women to buy into the category.
According to the brewer, women are vital to growing the shrinking beer market, which currently attributes just 17 per cent of its sales to females.
The company claims that 79 per cent of women in the UK never or rarely drink beer.