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Using data provided by the HMRC, the BBPA conducted analysis and found that 8.5bn pints of beer were sold in the UK in 2018, compared with 7.4bn 175ml glasses of wine.
Molson Coors director of on-trade UK Martyn Cozens said: “It’s not surprising that beer is topping the charts – it’s an age-old favourite that will always bring people together at their local. A perfectly pulled pint is synonymous with the great British pub, which itself is a uniquely special institution.
“We’re lucky enough to work with communities up and down the country through our Carling Made Local campaign, supporting them and the people that underpin them.”
The BBPA also said that although beer is the best-selling and most popular alcoholic drink, it is overtaxed in the UK.
BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “It is clear from these numbers that beer is the most popular alcoholic drink but it is, without doubt, overtaxed. In fact, we pay 11 times more beer tax than Germany or Spain.”
The research found that Brits pay 54p in beer duty on a 5% ABV pint of beer despite the fact 82% of beer drunk in the UK is also brewed here too.
Simmonds added that because public finances assume an RPI increase every year, pubs also face another tax hike on top of that in the next Budget.
She said: “Should tax on a pint continue to rise, drinking in the pub will no longer be affordable for many British beer drinkers, meaning pubs will continue to close.”
However, this could cause problems for the sector because pubs and brewing create almost 900,000 jobs in the UK.
And because beer makes up seven of every 10 alcoholic drinks sold in pubs, the tax hits those venues hardest.
Simmonds claims this is a reason why the BBPA continues to support the Long Live the Local campaign, led by Britain’s Beer Alliance.
The campaign is calling on Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond to cut beer tax at the next budget to support community locals, which are believed to sell a higher proportion of beer and are, therefore, more sensitive to beer tax hikes.
Heart of our culture
Cozens said: “As part of this passion, we’re committed to supporting the Long Live the Local campaign and maintaining the drive to cut beer duty.
“Pubs are at the heart of our culture, and we want to keep it that way for years to come, so it’s crucial that more businesses and people sign the petition.
“We’re encouraging everyone who values their local pub to get behind this campaign and help keep a pint affordable.”
The BBPA is also campaigning to reduce high business rates that also affect pubs.