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Mixed fortunes for beer sales in third quarter 2014

UK beer sales have risen, year-on-year, for the third quarter in a row, according to the latest UK Quarterly Beer Barometer from the British Beer & Pub Association. Annual beer sales for the year ending 30 September were 1.4% up on the previous year, the third quarter to have reported an increase in sales, after 29 consecutive quarters of decline, from quarter three in 2006.

When comparing Q3 directly with last year, sales were down, but this was after a strong summer and third quarter last year, and will have been affected this year by off-trade retailers running down unused stocks of beer from the World Cup, the BBPA said. Quarter Three sales this year were still higher than in 2012. Beer sales are stronger for the off trade than the on trade, with off-trade sales up 3.6% in the third quarter and on-trade beer sales down by 0.7%. Sales of cask ale are believed to have increased during September 2014, and this can partly be explained by increased stocking during Cask Ale week.

The BBPA’s chief executive, Brigid Simmonds, said: “We are seeing a very encouraging recovery in UK beer sales, but there is certainly a way to go, after a long period of declining volumes. We’ve seen a boost in investment and jobs as a result of the last two Budgets with their one penny duty cuts, and major industry campaigns, such as ‘There’s a Beer for That’ show that the UK beer category is increasingly on the front foot. Another beer duty cut in March would really help the industry to continue this recovery.”