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British beer sales up for the first time in ten years

Total beer sales up 1.3 per cent in 2014,  ending a decade of decline

  • Off-trade sales overtake on trade, for the first time on record
  • A third duty cut is vital, says BBPA’s Brigid Simmonds

A decade of decline in UK beer sales has come to an end, with a 1.3 per cent rise in UK beer sales in 2014, it has been announced today. The startling turn around in the fortunes of Britain’s favourite pub drink follows two historic cuts in beer duty by the Chancellor. The figures are reported in the latest ‘Beer Barometer’ from the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA).

The 1.3 per cent rise in 2014 followed nine consecutive years of decline, which saw beer sales slide by an astonishing 24 per cent – 6.7 million fewer pints sold, per day. The BBPA says that huge tax rises were the major culprit, with a devastating beer duty hike of 42 per cent from 2008 to 2013, under the disastrous beer tax ‘escalator’ policy. This sent the duty (plus the VAT on the duty) from 42p, to 65p on a typical pint. The period saw 7,000 pubs close, with 58,000 jobs lost.

With taxes still much higher than they were a decade ago, the BBPA is leading calls for a much-needed hat-trick of beer duty cuts in the Budget on 18th March.

Beer sales in pubs have begun to stabilise, showing a small decline of 0.8 per cent in 2014, but this was the smallest decline in sales since 1996.  Off-trade sales grew by 3.5 per cent, matching the growth of last year, and taking off-licence and supermarket sales above on-trade sales, for the first time on record.

BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds comments:

“British beer is back in growth – and we want to keep it that way. But with seventy per cent of pub drink sales being beer, the picture for our much loved pubs is still fragile.

“That is why another duty cut from the Chancellor is vital. It will build on the success of two very popular tax cuts in the past two years, and boost jobs in an industry that employs 900,000 people, almost half of whom are 16-24 year olds. That has got to be good news.”

UK Quarterly Beer Barometer
4th Quarter 2014 (October to December)
Moving annual total beer sales (‘000 barrels)
Total sales Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Volume % change Volume % change Volume % change Volume % change
2000 35,464 -0.6% 35,503 1.5% 35,052 -1.0% 34,572 -3.5%
2001 34,531 -2.6% 34,432 -3.0% 34,473 -1.7% 34,627 0.2%
2002 34,953 1.2% 35,287 2.5% 35,201 2.1% 35,141 1.5%
2003 35,052 0.0% 35,033 0.0% 35,483 0.0% 35,500 1.0%
2004 35,771 2.0% 35,969 2.7% 35,495 0.0% 35,641 0.4%
2005 35,413 -1.0% 35,015 -2.7% 35,215 -0.8% 34,902 -2.1%
2006 34,778 -1.8% 35,191 0.5% 34,596 -1.8% 34,448 -1.3%
2007 34,265 -1.5% 33,600 -4.5% 33,558 -3.0% 33,155 -3.8%
2008 33,144 -3.3% 32,790 -2.4% 32,213 -4.0% 31,482 -5.0%
2009 30,961 -6.6% 30,543 -6.9% 30,503 -5.3% 30,214 -4.0%
2010 29,927 -3.3% 30,225 -1.0% 29,514 -3.2% 29,150 -3.5%
2011 29,003 -3.1% 28,272 -6.5% 28,492 -3.5% 28,477 -2.3%
2012 28,430 -2.0% 28,031 -0.9% 27,618 -3.1% 27,131 -4.7%
2013 26,970 -5.1% 26,627 -5.0% 26,997 -2.3% 27,098 -0.1%
2014 26,994 0.1% 27,639 3.8% 27,368 1.4% 27,444 1.3%
On-trade sales Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Volume % change Volume % change Volume % change Volume % change
2000 24,281 -3.1% 24,018 -3.2% 23,671 -4.4% 23,358 -4.7%
2001 23,134 -4.7% 22,961 -4.4% 22,794 -3.7% 22,763 -2.5%
2002 22,811 -1.4% 22,725 -1.0% 22,552 -1.1% 22,333 -1.9%
2003 22,165 0.0% 22,013 0.0% 21,981 0.0% 21,890 -2.0%
2004 21,821 -1.5% 21,796 -1.0% 21,621 -1.6% 21,513 -1.7%
2005 21,381 -2.0% 21,064 -3.4% 20,935 -3.2% 20,729 -3.6%
2006 20,499 -4.1% 20,466 -2.8% 20,145 -3.8% 19,942 -3.8%
2007 19,770 -3.6% 19,423 -5.1% 19,166 -4.9% 18,737 -6.0%
2008 18,389 -7.0% 17,876 -8.0% 17,506 -8.7% 17,048 -9.0%
2009 16,818 -8.5% 16,634 -6.9% 16,451 -6.0% 16,256 -4.6%
2010 15,951 -5.2% 15,714 -5.5% 15,430 -6.2% 15,135 -6.9%
2011 15,075 -5.5% 14,980 -4.7% 14,894 -3.5% 14,925 -1.4%
2012 14,782 -1.9% 14,619 -2.4% 14,446 -3.0% 14,261 -4.5%
2013 14,089 -4.7% 13,862 -5.2% 13,824 -4.3% 13,775 -3.4%
2014 13,693 -2.8% 13,781 -0.6% 13,723 -0.7% 13,660 -0.8%
Off-trade sales Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Volume % change Volume % change Volume % change Volume % change
2000 11,183 5.3% 11,484 12.9% 11,381 6.9% 11,215 -0.9%
2001 11,397 1.9% 11,471 -0.1% 11,679 2.6% 11,864 5.8%
2002 12,143 6.5% 12,562 9.5% 12,649 8.3% 12,808 8.0%
2003 12,888 0.0% 13,020 0.0% 13,502 0.0% 13,610 6.3%
2004 13,949 8.2% 14,174 8.9% 13,874 2.8% 14,128 3.8%
2005 14,032 0.6% 13,951 -1.6% 14,279 2.9% 14,173 0.3%
2006 14,278 1.8% 14,725 5.6% 14,451 1.2% 14,506 2.4%
2007 14,496 1.5% 14,177 -3.7% 14,391 -0.4% 14,418 -0.6%
2008 14,755 1.8% 14,915 5.2% 14,707 2.2% 14,434 0.1%
2009 14,143 -4.2% 13,909 -6.7% 14,052 -4.5% 13,958 -3.3%
2010 13,976 -1.2% 14,512 4.3% 14,084 0.2% 14,015 0.4%
2011 13,928 -0.3% 13,293 -8.4% 13,598 -3.5% 13,552 -3.3%
2012 13,647 -2.0% 13,412 0.9% 13,172 -3.1% 12,870 -5.0%
2013 12,881 -5.6% 12,765 -4.8% 13,173 0.0% 13,323 3.5%
2014 13,301 3.3% 13,857 8.6% 13,645 3.6% 13,784 3.5% 

 

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