Find a news story

Refine your search here

Back to results

Beer sales decline continues in 2011, but rate slows further – BBPA ‘Beer Barometer’


  • New UK ‘Beer Barometer’ shows pub beer sales down 3.4 per cent in 2011, with off trade sales down 3.7 per cent
  • 9,000 jobs lost in beer and pub sector in 2011
  • Pressing need for change in Government Beer Tax policy, which could create 5,000 jobs in 2012, says BBPA

New figures released today show UK beer sales continued to fall in 2011, although at a slower rate than in previous years, according to the latest UK ‘Beer Barometer’, released today by the British Beer & Pub Association. The BBPA says this decline could be halted - and thousands of jobs saved - if the Government abandons damaging plans for yet-more, above-inflation rises in Beer Tax in the March Budget.

Pub sales declined by 3.4 per cent in 2011, the slowest rate since 2004, but which represents 139 million fewer pints enjoyed in British pubs – a trend also linked to a slowing in the rate of pub closures, which are closely linked to the trend in beer sales. Off-trade beer sales were down 3.7 per cent over the year (136 million pints), the first time since 1996, when the European Championships were held in England, that the off-trade has put in a weaker performance than the on-trade. Total beer volumes fell by 3.5 per cent. The BBPA estimates this has led to an estimated 9,000 jobs disappearing from the sector in 2011 – mostly in Britain’s pubs.

Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, comments:

“The decline in beer sales has slowed, but these figures show the sector cannot afford another round of inflation-busting, Beer Tax hikes in the Budget. This will delay any potential recovery in an iconic and economically vital British industry.

“A change of course, giving brewers and pubs a chance to invest and expand their operations – could create over five thousand jobs in 2012 –which should be a great year for British beer and pubs with the Queen’s Jubilee, Euro 2012, the Olympics and Paralympics. These events could provide a real boost for the UK economy and boost employment - but this will only be possible if the Government reverses planned tax increases and damaging over-regulation.”

Notes to editors:

  1. Quarterly beer sales for October to December 2012 show pub beer sales down 1.1 per cent on the same period in 2011 with total sales down 1.4 per cent. The full tables can be found from this link.

  2. The British Beer & Pub Association is the UK’s leading organisation representing the brewing and pub sector. Its members account for 96 per cent of the beer brewed in the UK and around half of Britain’s 51,000 pubs.

  3. The BBPA has a long-established and authoritative reputation for the publication of statistics on the UK’s brewing and pub sector. The BBPA’s Beer Barometer will generally be available within one month of quarter-end. Data is sourced directly from the Association’s brewing members, and accounts for 93 per cent of all beer sold in the UK.

  4. Beer sales support around one million jobs and generate nearly £8 billion in tax revenues.

  5. Beer duty was increased by 7.2 per cent in the March 2011 Budget. The total increase in beer duty since March 2008 stands at 35.4 per cent. The Government’s controversial beer tax ‘escalator’ policy means increases of two per cent above inflation until 2014/15.

In addition to the data available with this press release more detailed data is available to purchase from the BBPA. This includes a more detailed look at category performance and monthly breakdowns. For information about the data that BBPA sells, please contact David Sheen (


» UK Quarterly Beer Barometer Q4 2011


Beer Duty, Pubs, Brewing

For further information contact:

Neil Williams
Head of Media
Tel: 020 7627 9156 / 07974 249 779

Just loading our latest tweet...