On-trade beer sales, meaning beer sales in pubs, bars, hotels and restaurants, in the UK have declined 2.9% in the last quarter of last year, according to recently released figures by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA). However, off-trade beer sales to food and beverage retailers like supermarkets, grew by 0.7%.
Kate Nicholls, CEO of The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) attributed this development to a “completely unfair disparity in operating costs for on- and off-trade businesses.” While supermarkets paid only 2p per pint, pubs are charged 18p.
“While overall beer sales have stabilized following years of sharp decline under the beer duty escalator, these latest figures show that more action is needed to ease the tax burden on brewers, pubs and pubgoers.” said Brigid Simmonds, BBPA’s chief executive. Beer sales in the UK declined between 2006 and 2010 by more than one quarter (26.5%), but show now a stabilization. Simmonds fears that a new tax rise for beer, which was earmarked by the Government for the budget, could reverse the slight recovery and harm the beer and pub industry even more.