Beer volumes show signs of recovery

By Ewan Turney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Alcoholic beverage, Pub association

Beer sales: on road to recovery
Beer sales: on road to recovery
British beer volumes seem to be lifting out of the recessionary slump but recovery could be destabilised by Government intervention on tax.

British beer volumes are showing signs of lifting out of the recessionary slump but any recovery could be destabilised by Government intervention on tax or regulation.

That's the warning from the British Beer and Pub Association as it revealed the fourth quarter results of its Beer Barometer.

Overall beer sales, in pubs and supermarkets, for the last three months of 2009 fell by 3.6% — the lowest fourth quarter fall since 2006.

Sales for the whole of 2009 fell by 4.2%, compared with 5.5% in 2008.

Sales in pubs, bars and restaurants were down 5% in the final quarter compared with the same period in 2008 — the lowest final quarter fall since 2006.

Sales for the whole of 2009 were down 5.2% — an improvement on the 9.3% slump in 2008 and 6.5% fall in 2007.

Supermarkets

Beer sales in supermarkets and shops declined by 2.1% in the final three months of 2009, compared to a fall of 6.4% in the same period in 2008.

In the year as a whole, however, off-trade sales fell by 3.1% — the largest fall since records began in 1978.

Income from beer tax in 2009 is down £258m compared with 2008, despite duty rates being considerably higher.

Caution

"These figures show a sector starting to claw its way out of a recessionary slump," said BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds.

"They also signal the most significant driver of problems in the pub sector over the last 12 to 18 months has been the down turn in the economy and the slide into recession, along with duty increases of over 20%.

"As the economy moves into recovery, so will the beer and pub sector. In fact, as in previous recessions, it may emerge first and fastest."

She added: "However, it's too early to say whether these indicators of fragile recovery will turn into a trend, particularly when we await to see the impact of shocks such as the VAT increase and big freeze of this month.

"What is certain is that any recovery could be thrown off course an destabilised by Government intervention on tax or regulation. 

"What is equally certain is that any move by Government to increase beer tax further this year would be very damaging and place pubs and jobs at greater risk."

Related topics: Beer

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