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29th April 2013

UK beer sales down 2.9 per cent in Q1 – new ‘Beer Barometer’ from the BBPA

·         Pub beer sales down 5.5 per cent in Q1 2013

·         Off-trade up 0.1 per cent

·         Chancellor right to cut tax, says BBPA


UK beer sales fell 2.9 per cent in the first quarter of 2013, according to the British Beer & Pub Association’s quarterly Beer Barometer, published today. The loss in sales of this iconic British product took place in the pub sector, which was down 5.5 per cent.


Off trade sales were more stable, rising 0.1 per cent compared with the first quarter in 2012. The association is pointing out that the long winter will certainly have hit business in pubs, and the period largely precedes the unprecedented cut in beer duty in the Budget on 20th March and other Budget changes which should help pubs.


The decline in pub sales reflects the trend in recent years, says the BBPA. The pub sales decline represents the loss of 49.8 million pub pints over the same quarter in 2012.


Brigid Simmonds OBE, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, comments:


“The figures show the Chancellor was right to cut Beer Duty and abolish the escalator, given the huge tax rises in recent years. We would hope to see the benefits in second quarter sales, where brewers, pubs and pubgoers will see Beer Tax rates at nearly seven per cent lower than they were due to be.


“Beer has a very special place in pubs, and accounts for 68 per cent of pub drinks’ sales. The duty cut has seen brewers and pub companies passing on the reduction to customers. It will encourage brewers and pubs to invest and create jobs.”


“Other measures in the Budget will also help pubs, and are a further recognition that the Government understands the importance of our sector. The changes to National Insurance were particularly helpful, as the pub trade largely comprises small businesses and employs around 600,000 people directly.”


Andrew Griffiths, Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group, comments:


“These figures show just how important it is that the Treasury supports the brewing industry.  By scrapping the beer duty escalator and cutting beer duty for the first time since 1959, I am sure the Coalition Government is giving the brewing industry a shot in the arm and that this will lead to growth in the sector in the future.”



For further information and requests for interviews with Brigid Simmonds, please contact:


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

Gareth Barrett, Public Affairs Officer Tel: (020) 7627 9154

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


Notes to editors:


The British Beer & Pub Association is the UK’s leading organisation representing the brewing and pub sector.  Its members account for 96 per cent of the beer brewed in the UK and around half of Britain’s 50,000 pubs.


1.      Full Beer Barometer excel tables can be downloaded from the BBPA website here


2.      Beer sales support around one million jobs and generate nearly £8 billion in tax revenues.


3.      Beer is a leading British Manufactured good, with 87 per cent of beer consumed in the UK, brewed in the UK.


4.      Beer duty was due to rise by 5.2 per cent in the Budget, but was instead cut by 2 per cent. The Chancellor also abolished the controversial Beer Duty ‘escalator’, and thus also cancelled the above-inflation increase due in March 2014. Prior to the Budget on 20th March 2013, beer duty had risen by 42 per cent, following the introduction of the escalator by the previous government in March 2008.


5.      The BBPA has a long-established and authoritative reputation for the publication of statistics on the UK’s brewing and pub sector. The BBPA’s Beer Barometer is generally available within one month of quarter-end. Data is sourced directly from the Association’s brewing members, and accounts for 100 per cent of all beer sold in the UK.


6.      In addition to the data available with this press 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 the data that BBPA sells, please contact David Sheen.

Neil Williams

Head of Media

British Beer & Pub Association

020 7627 9156

07974 249 779