Spring overtakes festive sales?
Published:  04 February, 2011

For the first time, sales of take-home beer in the last three months of 2010 were lower than those in the second quarter of the year, according to figures from the British Beer & Pub Association.

Unusually warm spring weather saw 3.9 million barrels sold between April and June, compared with 3.6 million barrels from October to December.

Off-trade volumes in the last quarter of the year were down 1.3% on the same period in 2009.

Take-home beer sales for the whole of 2010 rose 0.6% year-on-year to 12.7 million barrels – halting a three-year decline for take-home, according to BBPA figures. Pub beer sales dropped 7.5% in 2010, which the BBPA blamed on duty rate hikes.

“Beer has always been a rich revenue source for government – but it may now be cooking the golden goose,” said BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds.

Meanwhile, the BBPA is encouraging brewers to get involved in British Tourism Week 2011, which will run from March 12 to 20.

“The use of our brewing heritage as a magnet for visitors has become increasingly important,” said a spokesman for the BBPA.

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Reasons to be cheerful

I would like to think my outlook on things is generally optimistic. Perhaps that’s a natural consequence of working with something designed to give pleasure. But recently it has become increasingly difficult to ignore a creeping sense of negativity pervading the British wine trade.

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