Beer sales holding up well in on-trade

‘Broadly positive’ outlook for category in pubs, despite slight sales dip

THE on-trade beer market is said to have remained largely positive in the third quarter of this year, despite a slight dip in sales, according to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA).

• The overall picture for beer in the on-trade remains strong, according to the BBPA.
• The overall picture for beer in the on-trade remains strong, according to the BBPA.

Figures contained in the association’s latest ‘Beer Barometer’, the quarterly sales tracker from the BBPA, revealed that beer sales were down 3.4% from July to September when compared with 2015.
But the BBPA said that the boost last year can be attributed to the 2015 Rugby World Cup, and this year’s beer sales were up when compared to the same period in 2014.

Quarterly beer sales hit a low in 2013 but have since stabilised after years of decline.

Sales figures, now far from the low they hit in the second quarter of 2013, are said to have been largely influenced by changes in tax policy; the three beer duty cuts and a tax freeze in the last four Budgets, which have resulted in duty being 17% lower than it would have been under the beer duty escalator, are said to have played a key role in keeping the price of a pint affordable for consumers.
And according to the BBPA, the duty cuts have also stimulated growth and investment in a beer market that is 90% supplied by UK producers.
It has also reportedly encouraged investment in industry-wide campaigns and initiatives, such as Britain’s Beer Alliance – a group of brewers, pub companies and trade groups that have joined forces to promote beer.
Brigid Simmonds, BBPA chief executive, said: “Whilst the overall trend is moving in the right direction, with the challenges of Brexit, it is vital we continue to enjoy supportive tax policies that boost consumer confidence in beer and pubs.
“We do need to see further beer tax cuts, so that we can compete with our European neighbours when we leave the EU, as many of these countries benefit from substantially lower tax rates on beer.”
David Cunningham of Britain’s Beer Alliance said that, despite growth in beer volumes remaining “fragile”, the value of the category continues to improve.
“We continue to track positive changes in consumer attitude and behaviour towards beer,” said Cunningham.
“Beer penetration, usage and consideration have improved year-on-year and people are increasingly choosing to drink a beer with their meal in pubs, bars, restaurants and at home.”
However, he added “there is still plenty of work to be done collectively to demonstrate beer’s quality, diversity and versatility”.