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27th February 2017

Beer sales down in 2016 – penny off a pint in the Budget would safeguard jobs and pubs, says BBPA

  • Beer sales down 1.0 per cent in 2016 (a decline of 78 million pints)
  • Penny off a pint needed instead of the planned increase in Budget to protect jobs and investment, says BBPA
  • Quarterly ‘Beer Barometer’ from the British Beer & Pub Association


Sales of British beer fell by one per cent in 2016, prompting renewed calls from the industry for a one penny cut in beer duty in the Budget on 8th March. The fall means that 78 million fewer pints of beer were sold in 2016 compared with the previous year.


Overall, however, sales in the past three years have stabilised after years of sharp decline, says the BBPA, a trend greatly helped by three, one penny cuts in beer duty from 2013-2015, and a freeze last year. Tax cuts have increased confidence and investment in the sector, and have been accompanied by campaigns such as ‘There’s a Beer for That’, which promotes the beer category as a whole, with widespread backing throughout the industry, through ‘Britain’s Beer Alliance’.


Prior to 2013, there was a slump of 14 per cent in sales under the controversial beer duty escalator, when a tax hike of 42 per cent from 2008-13 was accompanied by 58,000 job losses and 7,000 pub closures.


In order to safeguard jobs, pubs and investment, the current trends make it essential that the Government does not revert to beer tax hikes, as currently planned, in the Budget on 8th March, says the BBPA.


Brigid Simmonds, BBPA Chief Executive, comments:


“Whilst overall, beer sales have stabilised 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.


“For the Budget, the Government has currently earmarked a tax rise for beer, but this would begin to undo much of the great work done in recent years, with three duty cuts and a freeze, from 2013.


“Recent Budgets have shown that reducing beer duty is a low cost, targeted measure, that can make a real difference. Beer duty is now 17 per cent lower than it was due to be under the escalator. However, our tax rates are still the third highest in the EU and far higher than in neighbouring countries. The Chancellor can safeguard pubs, and protect jobs and investment, with a further one penny cut in the Budget on 8th March.”


For further information, please contact:

David Wilson, Director of Public Affairs: 020 7627 9151/ 07557 436 033

Neil Williams, Head of Media: 020 7627 9156 / 07974 249 779

Tom Pratt, Campaigns & Communications Officer 020 7627 9155


Notes to editors:

To view the full ‘Beer Barometer’ data on the BBPA website, see spreadsheet here.


To join the #cutbeertax campaign, visit


For more information and infographics on the key economic issues affecting the beer and pub sector, see ‘The Beer Story – Facts on Tap’ leaflet and infographics, see

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.

The BBPA has a long-established and authoritative reputation for the publication of statistics on the UK’s brewing and pub sector. Data is sourced directly from the Association’s brewing members, and accounts for 100 per cent of all beer sold in the UK.


In addition to the data available with this news release more detailed data is available to purchase from the BBPA. This includes a more detailed look at category performance and monthly breakdowns. For information about purchasing other data from the BBPA, please contact



Neil Williams

Head of Media

British Beer & Pub Association

020 7627 9156

07974 249 779