Brewing giants Heineken and Carlsberg blamed bad weather, tax hikes and continued austerity for declining volume sales in the UK market.

Heineken said volume sales declined “in the high single digits” in the UK, contributing to an underlying operating profit dip of 9% in Western Europe in the second quarter of 2013, and a volume sales decline of 8%.

Carlsberg said beer volumes were down 4% in the UK for the second quarter, blaming the shrinking consumer purse and poor weather.

Chief executive Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen said: ‘The ongoing challenging market conditions underpin the importance of our continued efforts to make our business more efficient.’

Carlsberg added that during this period last year it saw a sales spike due to sponsorship of the Euro 2012 football tournament, so year-on-year figures were likely to have declined anyway.

Chief executive Jean-Francois van Boxmeer said the brewer continued to operate in a “challenging trading environment” and added: “Although the volume trends have improved in July with the warm summer weather in Europe, economic conditions in several of our core markets continue to constrain consumer spending.”

The group said that certain brands – including Heineken, Desperados and Bulmers – saw volume growth.

It hopes that NPD such as Foster’s Radler and new variants of Bulmers will see the group return to volume growth.