Pub beer sales at lowest level since 1930sPub sales have almost halved since 1979

20 November 2007

Beer sales in pubs are at their lowest level since the 1930s, brewers said today.

7 million

Fall in daily pints sold since 1979

Seven million fewer pints a day are now sold in Britain compared to the beer market's 1979 peak - a 22% drop.

In pubs, beer sales have plummeted 49% since 1979 but supermarket and off-licence beer sales have increased over the same period, lessening the overall decline.

Freeze on beer duty demanded

The BBPA today sent a letter to MPs calling for a freeze on beer duty.

It cites the soaring costs of barley, malt, glass, aluminium and energy as factors which are squeezing brewers' profits.

The BBPA's calls follow the launch last week of the Alcohol Health Alliance which wants tax on alcohol to be increased.

But the BBPA complains that between 1997 and 2006 beer duty increased 27% compared to an 11% drop in beer consumption. This compares to tax hikes over the same period of 11% for cider, 16% for wine and 3% for spirits.

Profits slump

Major brewers in the UK saw their profits slump by 78% between 2004 and 2006, the BBPA said.

In the open letter to MPs, BBPA chief executive Rob Hayward said: ‘We believe the benefits that have been enjoyed by other drinks from a tax freeze should be extended to Britain's national drink - beer.

‘We are calling for Government policy to encourage and support Britain's businesses. British brewers and beers are of world renown. Please join us in our call to the Chancellor to freeze beer duty.’

The BBPA's members account for 98% of beer brewed in the UK and nearly two thirds of Britain's 58,000 pubs.

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