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Beer sales down in Q3 despite positive trend

British beer sales posted a decline in Q3 when compared with last year, but the trend is still broadly positive for the UK’s favourite pub drink. The figures are contained in the latest ‘Beer Barometer’ quarterly sales tracker from the British Beer & Pub Association.

bbpa-beer-barometerBeer sales were down 3.4 per cent from July to September when compared with 2015, but the 2014 figures had been given a boost by the Rugby World Cup, says the BBPA. Q3 sales figures were up on the same period during 2014.

Quarterly beer sales hit a low in the second quarter of 2013, but have since stabilised after years of decline, and have not dropped below this level since. The change in trend is down to a big change in tax policy, with three beer duty cuts and a freeze in the past four Budgets helping to keep the price of beer affordable for consumers.

Beer duty is now 17 per cent lower than it would have been under the previous ‘beer duty escalator’ policy. This has stimulated growth and investment in a beer market that is 90 per cent supplied by UK producers, and has encouraged investment in industry-wide campaigns and initiatives, such as ‘There’s a Beer for That’.

Brigid Simmonds, BPBA Chief Executive, comments: “Whilst the overall trend is moving in the right direction, with the challenges of Brexit, it is vital we continue to enjoy supportive tax policies that boost consumer confidence in beer and pubs. We do need to see further beer tax cuts, so that we can compete with our European neighbours when we leave the EU, as many of these countries benefit from substantially lower tax rates on beer.”

David Cunningham, Programme Director, There`s A Beer For That – Britain`s Beer Alliance, adds: “Despite category volume growth remaining fragile, value growth continues to improve year on year. We continue to track positive changes in consumer attitude and behaviour towards beer. Beer penetration, usage and consideration have improved year on year and people are increasingly choosing to drink a beer with their meal in pubs, bars, restaurant and at home. However, there is still plenty of work to be done collectively to demonstrate beer`s quality, diversity and versatility.”