Beer sales fell in the first quarter of 2018

The beer category suffered falling sales across the board in the first quarter of 2018, according to new stats from the British Beer & Pub Association.

The trade body’s quarterly beer barometer showed that off-trade volume sales dipped 1.5% compared to the same period in 2017, while on-trade sales were down 1.7%.

“Beer sales experienced another fall at the beginning of the year and the industry will be hoping for better prospects this summer, especially as the FIFA World Cup will be a big draw to the pub,” said Brigid Simmons, chief executive at the BBPA. “What’s still needed is a continued focus from the Government to reduce the tax burden on beer and pubs to ensure their success in the future.”

It is worth noting, however, that off-trade beer sales grew 11.3% in Q1 2017, so it was always going to be difficult to match that strong performance.

Yet Dry January could be a contributing factor to the decline. In Q4 of 2018, off-trade beer volumes rose 3.6% to more than 4 million barrels, and the annual volume sales picture for the off-trade beer category is still positive.

Off-trade beer volumes overtook the on-trade for the first time in Q4 2014 and it remains the leading channel for the category.

Related articles: