255 pints sold per second last year

By Alice Leader

- Last updated on GMT

Raise a glass: the growth in 2019 equated to an extra 87m pints of beer being sold versus 2018
Raise a glass: the growth in 2019 equated to an extra 87m pints of beer being sold versus 2018

Related tags Beer Pub Bbpa Long Live the Local

It seems beer was a popular ask in 2019 as total beer sales toppled those in 2018 by 1.1%, equal to 255 pints sold every second – reaching a total of 8,059,495,997.

Last year’s soar was particularly impressive as 2018 set new heights itself having the biggest year-on-year sales growth for beer in 45 years, with sales up 2.8% in 2018 alone.

The 2019 Beer Barometer sales data from the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) also shows the growth in 2019 equated to an extra 87m (86,738,882) pints of beer being sold versus 2018 across both the on and off-trade. 

The former Chancellor Philip Hammond’s decision to freeze beer duty in his last Budget back in October 2018 appears to have been a key factor in the growth of beer sales in 2019, with the duty freeze coming into place in February 2019.

As a result of the price of beer being kept down in 2019, the extra 87m pints sold in 2019 compared to 2018 will have boosted HMRC’s revenues by £57m.  

Stifle growth

However, the Government’s planned increase in beer duty in the forthcoming Budget will likely stifle this growth. 

BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “Beer sales increasing is clearly good news for our sector. However, this growth will be stifled if the Government goes ahead with its planned increase to beer duty on 11 March.”

The new Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has an opportunity to continue to help the beer and pub sector by implementing a 2% cut in beer duty.

Analysis by Oxford Economics shows that a 2% cut in beer duty would mean 4,700 more jobs in the sector compared to an RPI increase.

McClarkin continued: “Rishi Sunak has a fantastic opportunity to nurture this growth by cutting beer duty in his Budget.

“Pubs and brewers have an overwhelmingly positive impact not just on the UK economy – supporting 900,000 jobs – but also socially and culturally across the UK, so it’s important the Chancellor actively supports them.”

Backing the campaign

This would also be in response to the 255,000 people who have signed the Long Live the Local​ petition asking him to cut beer duty.

That is in addition to the 130,000 people so far who have also written to their MP informing them of the importance of their local to their community.

Long Live the Local​ programme director David Cunningham said: “So far, 255,000 have signed the petition, 130,000 people have written to their MP, and 25,000 publicans are backing the campaign – evidence of just how much they care about their local pubs and breweries.

“We hope the Chancellor listens to us and responds with a cut in beer duty.”   

With only a week to go until the Budget, MPs have been ramping up the pressure on the Chancellor to cut beer duty.

More than 50 MPs from all political parties attended a Westminster Hall debate on taxation on beer and pubs in February, headed by Mike Wood MP, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group, which saw MPs speak in favour of fairer tax on beer to support British brewing and pubs.

The pillar of communities

Workington MP Mark Jenkinson said: “As we said in our letter to the Chancellor, the great British beer and pub industry has, for hundreds of years, been the pillar of many communities up and down the UK.

“Beer duty acts as a tax on our pubs and we have written to the Chancellor asking him to cut beer duty. We have welcomed the freeze in recent years; however, a number of MPs now believe more should be done.

“The Long Live the Local​ petition has been very popular, and I have first-hand experience of that in the Workington constituency. With only a week to go until the Budget, the MPs who signed the letter will continue to make our case heard in Westminster.”

Furthermore, 85 Conservative party MPs signed a letter and delivered it to the Chancellor, calling on him to recognise those who have signed the Long Live the Local​ petition and cut beer duty.

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