Off-trade cheer despite beer sales collapse

29 July, 2008

Off-trade beer sales climbed 3.8% between April and June, while sales in pubs collapsed by 10.6%, according to new figures.

The British Beer & Pub Association said total beer sales over the period declined by 4.5%, costing the Treasury £88 million in lost duty and VAT.

In total, 107 million fewer pints were sold in the quarter this year compared with the same period in 2007 – a fall of 1.2 million pints a day.

BBPA chief executive Rob Hayward said: “Beer sales are on the slide and the tax increase in the Budget has made it worse. This is hitting Britain’s brewers and pubs hard. It’s also creating a large hole in the Chancellor’s pocket with the Treasury’s tax take also down. This must call into question the Government’s planned beer tax escalator. Where’s the logic in taxing more when you’re taking less?

“Beer sales in pubs are now at their lowest level since the Great Depression of the 1930s – down 7 million pints a day from the height of the market in 1979.

“We need a change of approach from the Government. Brewing is a major industry, beer our national drink and pubs a treasured part of our national culture. Yet with further duty increases planned, the Treasury continues to see the brewing industry as a ‘cash cow’ to be milked in future budgets. These falling tax revenues show that it’s time for a rethink.”

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