Beer sales at lowest level since records began

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Record drop: the first quarter of 2020 saw beer sales hit an all-time low
Record drop: the first quarter of 2020 saw beer sales hit an all-time low

Related tags British beer & pub association Coronavirus

UK beer sales sunk to the lowest level for 20 years in the first quarter of 2020, demonstrating the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the trade.

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA)’s Beer Barometer​ revealed that overall sales of beer in the same period were down by 7.2%, compared to the first quarter of 2019, to 1.5bn pints – the lowest level on record.

This was attributed to the drop in beer sales in the on-trade, which fell by 16.4% to a record low of 668m pints.

The BBPA is calling on the Government to give the pub and beer sector a “clear, definitive pathway to reopening from 4 July”.

Stark figures

BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “These stark figures reveal how the lockdown is having a devastating impact on our world class breweries and pubs.

“The cliff-edge impact on our sector, when people were told to stop going to the pub and then when they were shutdown is clear to see.

“Overall beer sales for the first quarter of this year are at their lowest since records began. Pubs saw a 16.4% drop in beer sales alone for the quarter – driven solely by the sudden closure of pubs and impact of two weeks of zero sales.

“We are urging the Government to get Britain brewing again now and reopen our pubs from 4 July. To do this, our sector needs at least three weeks’ notice so our breweries can brew fresh beer and our pubs can get ready to reopen safely."

Saving pubs

She added: “That means the Government must confirm by 13 June pubs can definitely reopen on 4 July as indicated in their roadmap for unlocking the economy.

“Our pubs and breweries are desperately in need of this clarity. Beer sales were at a record low in the first quarter of this year, so it is imperative we get brewing our beer again and reopen pubs as soon as possible.

“This will help save pubs from permanent closure, allowing them to start to get back on their feet and protect the vital local jobs pubs and breweries support across the UK.”

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