Skip to main content
4th March 2020

BBPA Beer Barometer – Beer sales grow in 2019 to over 8 BILLION pints

BBPA CEO Emma McClarkin and Mark Jenkinson, MP for Workington, supporting the Long Live the Local campaign calling on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to cut Beer Duty in the Budget on March 11th.

But Beer Duty increase in March 11th Budget would stifle growth, says trade association 

  • Total beer sales increased by 1.1% in 2019 to over 8 billion (8,059,495,997) pints
  • This was growth on top of a strong 2018, which featured the biggest increase in year-on-year beer sales for 45 years
  • A total of 87 million (86,738,882) more pints were sold in 2019 than 2018
  • The extra number of pints sold in 2019 will have boosted revenue for HM treasury by £57 million
  • However, Government plans to increase Beer Duty could stifle further growth, unless Chancellor Rishi Sunak cuts it in his Budget on March 11th

Sales of beer in 2019 were up 1.1% on 2018 to over 8 billion (8,059,495,997) pints, according to the full year 2019 Beer Barometer sales data from the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA).

The increase is especially impressive as 2018 had resulted in the biggest year-on-year sales growth for beer in 45 years, with sales up 2.8% in 2018 alone – all aided that year by good weather, a Royal Wedding and the FIFA World Cup.

The growth in 2019 equates to an extra 87 million (86,738,882) pints of beer being sold versus 2018.

The former Chancellor Philip Hammond’s decision to freeze Beer Duty in his last Budget back in October 2018 appears to have been a key factor in the growth of beer sales in 2019, with the duty freeze coming into place in February 2019.

As a result of the price of beer being kept down in 2019, the extra 87 million pints sold in 2019 compared to 2018 will have boosted HMRC’s revenues by £57 million.

However, the Government`s planned increase in Beer Duty in the forthcoming Budget will stifle this growth. The new Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has a fantastic opportunity to continue to help the beer and pub sector by going one step further than his predecessor and implementing a modest 2% cut in Beer Duty.

Analysis by Oxford Economics shows that a 2% cut in Beer Duty would mean 4,700 more jobs in the sector compared to an RPI increase.

It would also show that he has listened to the 255,000 people who have signed the Long Live the Local petition asking him to cut Beer Duty. That is in addition to the 130,000 people so far who have also written to their MP informing them of the importance of their local to their community.

With only a week to go until the Budget, MPs have been ramping up the pressure on the Chancellor to cut Beer Duty.

Over 50 MPs from all parties and nations of the United Kingdom attended a Westminster Hall debate on taxation on beer and pubs in February, secured by Mike Wood MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group. The debate saw MPs speak in favour of fairer tax on beer to support British brewing and pubs.

Furthermore, 85 Conservative Party MPs signed a letter and delivered it to the Chancellor, calling on him to recognise those who have signed the Long Live the Local petition and cut Beer Duty.

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, commented:

“Beer sales increasing is clearly good news for our sector. However, this growth will be stifled if the Government goes ahead with its planned increase to Beer Duty on March 11th.

“Rishi Sunak has a fantastic opportunity to nurture this growth by cutting Beer Duty in his Budget. Pubs and brewers have an overwhelmingly positive impact not just on the UK economy – supporting 900,000 jobs – but also socially and culturally across the UK, so it’s important the Chancellor actively supports them.” 

David Cunningham, Programme Director for Long Live the Local, commented:

“So far, 255,000 have signed the petition, 130,000 people have written to their MP, and 25,000 publicans are backing the campaign – evidence of just how much they care about their local pubs and breweries. We hope The Chancellor listens to us and responds with a cut in Beer Duty.”

Mark Jenkinson, Member of Parliament (MP) for Workington, commented:

 “As we said in our letter to the Chancellor, the Great British beer and pub industry has for hundreds of years been the pillar of many communities up and down the UK. Beer duty acts as a tax on our pubs and we have written to the Chancellor asking him to cut beer duty. We have welcomed the freeze in recent years; however, a number of MPs now believe more should be done. The Long Live the Local petition has been very popular, and I have first-hand experience of that in Workington constituency. With only a week to go until the Budget, the MPs who signed the letter will continue to make our case heard in Westminster.”


For further information, please contact:

Nick Lawrie, Digital Communications Manager: 020 7627 9156/ 07824 359 013

Adam Beazley, Communications & Campaigns Officer: 020 7627 9155 / 07507 836 708

Notes to editors:

About the British Beer & Pub Association

The British Beer & Pub Association is the leading body representing Britain’s brewers and pub companies. The Association is more than a century old and was originally founded as the Brewers’ Society in 1904. Our members account for some 90 per cent of beer brewed in Britain today, and own around 20,000 of the nation’s pubs.


About Long Live the Local

Long Live the Local is a campaign, backed by Britain’s Beer Alliance, that celebrates the positive role that pubs play in our lives and communities. It highlights the jeopardy that our pubs face from a range of tax pressures, including Beer Duty, Business Rates and VAT.

In 2018, the Chancellor froze Beer Duty, in response to 116,794 people who signed the petition to cut Beer Duty. 48,160 of these wrote directly to their MPs directly asking them to support a cut.

Britain’s Beer Alliance was formed in 2014 to promote beer and pubs, drive category growth and to encourage collaboration across the industry.

The Alliance consists of over 120 members including independent pubs, pub companies regional, independent and international breweries.

255,000 people have signed the petition and 130,000 have written to their MP. This year 25,000 pubs are actively supporting the campaign.


About the Beer Barometer

The Beer Barometer is the quarterly and yearly update of beer sales volumes across the on trade (e.g. pubs and bars) and off trade (e.g. supermarkets and convenience stores) in the UK. It is collated and distributed by the British Beer & Pub Association, the leading trade body representing Britain’s brewers and pubs. All references to data from the Beer Barometer should be attributed to the British Beer & Pub Association.

Full data and charts from the Beer Barometer are available from the BBPA upon request.