Beer sales are running at 3.9 billion pints a year, down from five billion in 2008, meaning one in five fewer pints are being sold. Worst hit areas include Lancashire, Wales and the Midlands where beer sales plunged by more than 27% in the last year, the figures from CGA Strategy reveal.
The figures come ahead of a mass lobby of Parliament next month, organised by the Campaign for Real Ale, when more than 1,000 campaigners will call for the beer duty escalator – which adds £1 to every pint – to be scrapped. The British Beer and Pub Association says the tax policy is costing around 5,000 jobs a year.
CGA Strategy's Phil Tate said: “The duty escalator has made an already challenging trading environment even more difficult.”