Falling beer sales give brewers a headache
Published:  13 June, 2008

As beer enters its crucial summer sales period new figures have underlined how much the sector is struggling.

Nielsen sales figures for the year to April 19, obtained by OLN, show that ale and lager were both down 2% in value in the British take-home trade. Stout sales were down 1%.

To add to brewers’ woes, the news was even worse in the on-trade, where beers sales were down 5% over the same period.

The previous Nielsen off-trade data, for the year to February 23, had shown beer sales to be static. The latest figures come at a time when brewers were already fearing a downturn thanks to the home nations’ failure to qualify for the Euro 2008 football tournament.

Cider’s off-trade boom continues, with sales up 21% in the take-home sector, a performance eclipsed only by golden rum’s 26% increase.

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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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