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Q1 beer sales show encouraging signs of stability says BBPA

Beer sales in the first quarter of 2016 were one per cent down on the same quarter in 2015, according to the latest ‘Beer Barometer’ sales data from the British Beer & Pub Association.

The fall was the smallest Q1 drop since 2008, giving further signs of more stability in the market, following years of decline accompanied by sharp rises in the tax on beer, which rose by 42 per cent from 2008 to 2013.

Three successive beer duty cuts from Budget 2013, and a freeze in this year’s Budget, have helped to build confidence in the industry, says association Chief Executive, Brigid Simmonds.

Greater sales stability was particularly noticeable in the on-trade, which fared relatively better than the off-trade, with a drop of 0.2 per cent on Q1 2015, whilst off trade sales fell by 1.8 per cent. The very small, on-trade drop in volumes was the smallest decline in sales seen in Q1 since 2002 which is obviously good news for cask beer as well.

Increased confidence in the sector is being spurred by innovation and investment, and through campaigns such as ‘There’s a Beer for That’/Britain’s Beer Alliance; a cross industry group of brewers, pub companies and beer organisations working together to support a high-profile marketing campaign for the beer category as a whole.

Brigid Simmonds, BBPA Chief Executive, comments: “Beer sales are certainly doing better overall, and there are good prospects for Q2, with Euro 2016 and The Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations a key draw for pubs. To avoid any return to the sharp declines in sales of recent years, we will need continued focus from the Government on the tax burden, not just on beer, but also on pubs, through a fairer business rates regime and other burdens on small business.”