Beer sales in pubs were down 38% last year against pre-pandemic levels, however the figures were an improvement from 2020 when trade was down 55% compared with 2019.
BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “Every unsold pint is a stark reminder of the dislocating effect Covid restrictions had on our sector and the communities our pubs sit at the heart of.”
Shift in consumption patterns
Analysis of HMRC tax receipts by the BBPA, also showed a significant shift in consumer consumption patterns.
Between March 2020 and October 2021 beer receipts dropped 11% while receipts for wine and spirits rose 8% and 13%, caused by restraints on pub trading and a rise in at-home drinking according to the association.
The figures come as Treasury ministers begin considering responses to a consultation on simplifying the alcohol duty system, notably with the intention to link duty rates to the alcoholic strength of different categories of drinks.
McClarkin added: “Our analysis showing falling beer consumption supports the Treasury’s stated objective to incentivise lower-strength products and differentiate beer from stronger wine and spirts as part of planned reforms to the alcohol duty system.”
In response to the figures, the BBPA has called for a reduction to beer duty closer to the lower rate proposed for cider; an extension to the proposed relief for draught beer sold in pubs to include smaller kegs below 40L; an increase in the threshold to define lower-strength beers from 3.4% ABV to 3.5% ABV; additional help to support the on-trade recovery, including reform to business rates and an extension to the reduced rate of VAT for hospitality.
McClarkin said: “We must again ask Ministers to go further and support our recovery by continuing to reduce the punitive tax burden on our sector to ensure the sustainability of brewing and pubs.”