Beer sales fell by 3.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2011 compared with the same period in 2010, according to the latest UK Quarterly Beer Barometer published today by the British Beer & Pub Association.
Both the on and off-trade showed a decline of 3.8 per cent, and the decline of sales in pubs has slowed, following an 8.8 per cent fall in the same period in 2010 – the lowest first quarter decline since 2005.
While the impact of the huge, 7.2% tax rise in the March 2011 Budget has yet to surface in the BBPA’s statistics, the BBPA says the good weather at Easter, and the extended bank holiday season may help the second quarter figures, as people flock to pubs to enjoy the Royal Wedding and the sunshine.
“Taken together, the fall in sales, and the impact of the Budget shows sales in the sector are still fragile. However, the on-trade’s performance relative to the off-trade has improved – and quarter two will be helped by the bank holiday bonanza and the good weather,” says Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of BBPA. “While it’s a pity that any recovery will be undermined by the huge tax hike, we still must make the most of the bank holiday season, and enjoy a celebratory beer or two in the nation’s pubs in the coming days.”
The British Beer & Pub Association is the UK’s leading organisation representing the brewing and pub sector. Its members account for 96% of the beer brewed in the UK and own nearly two thirds of Britain’s 52,500 pubs.