Beer sales in UK pubs are this year falling at a slower rate than the supermarkets, according to latest figures reported by the British Beer and Pub Association.
Pub beer sales are down 4.5% compared to the second quarter in 2008 – the equivalent of 4.2 million fewer pints - and were down 6.3% in the first quarter of this year compared to 9.9% in the last quarter of 2008, the UK Quarterly Beer Barometer reported.
David Long, chief executive of the BBPA, said the figures gave ground for “cautious optimism” but urged the industry not to read too much into them.
“Whilst welcoming a slowing decline in beer sales, we are wary about reading too much into these early signs. However, the new figures give some ground for cautious optimism,” he said.
UK beer sales as a whole dropped by 4.8% in the second quarter of 2009 compared to 8.3% in the final quarter of 2008 and a 7.8% drop in the first quarter of this year.
Supermarket and off-licence sales are down 5.2% this quarter compared to the same quarter in 2008 which is the equivalent of 4.2m pints a week.
Whilst urging caution, Long also highlighted the potential benefits of growth within the beer industry.
“We have the potential to be a strong engine of recovery for the wider economy and deliver benefits to communities, tourism, jobs and Government revenues,” he said, adding, “We urge the Government to reconsider its plans for a VAT increase in January and further beer tax increases in next year’s Budget.”
By Emma White
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