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British beer sales continue to grow but support still needed


Total British beer sales continue to grow year on year, after a decade of decline

  • Total British beer sales continue to grow year on year, after a decade of decline
  • Market still fragile as Q1 sales 0.8 per cent lower than Q1 2014
  • Continued support for beer and pubs is vital, says BBPA’s Brigid Simmonds

Beer sales are continuing to grow year-on-year, with sales at the end of quarter one rising 1.5 per cent over the past 12 months, it has been announced today. The figures are reported in the latest ‘Beer Barometer’ from the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA).

This continued growth follows nine consecutive years of decline, which saw beer sales slide by an astonishing 24 per cent – 6.7 million fewer pints sold, per day. The BBPA says that huge tax rises were the major culprit, with a devastating beer duty hike of 42 per cent from 2008 to 2013, under the disastrous beer tax ‘escalator’ policy. This sent the typical duty on a pub pint (plus the VAT on the duty) from 38p to 56p. The period saw 7,000 pubs close, with 58,000 jobs lost.

BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds says the figures highlighted the need for continuity from The Treasury in its tax policy for beer, which has seen a historic hat-trick of beer duty cuts that have hugely helped to stabilise the sector and safeguard the future of many of Britain’s pubs.

BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds comments:

"The market is still fragile as the industry continues to recover from the damaging beer duty escalator and UK beer duty rates remain among the highest in the EU.

“That is why we need the right tax policies so we can continue to boost jobs and create investment in an industry that employs 900,000 people and is worth £22 billion to our economy.”


For further information please contact:

David Wilson, Public Affairs Director: Tel (020) 7627 9151
Neil Williams, Head of Media: (020) 7627 9156

Notes to editors:

Beer and pubs – key facts:

  • The beer and pub sector supports almost 900,000 jobs - 46 per cent are 16 to 24 year olds

  • 82 per cent of the beer sold in Britain is made in Britain

  • One job in brewing generates 18 jobs, in pubs, one in agriculture, one in the supply chain and one in retail.

  • Pubs rely on beer sales - seven in every ten pub drinks sold is beer.

  • Under the beer duty escalator (2008-2013) beer tax rose by 42 per cent. During this period, 7,000 pubs closed and 58,000 jobs were lost.

  • The first two, one penny beer duty cuts secured 16,000 jobs.

  • After years of above inflation tax rises, beer taxes are still too high. Britons pay 40 per cent of all EU beer duties, but drink just 12 per cent of the beer.

  • Beer prices increases in pubs are at their lowest since the 1980s.

The British Beer & Pub Association is the leading body representing Britain’s brewers and pub companies. The Association is more than a century old and was originally founded as the Brewers’ Society in 1904. Our members account for some 90 per cent of beer brewed in Britain today, and own around 20,000 of the nation’s pubs.
The BBPA has a long-established and authoritative reputation for the publication of statistics on the UK’s brewing and pub sector. Data is sourced directly from the Association’s brewing members, and accounts for 100 per cent of all beer sold in the UK.

In addition to the data available with this news 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 purchasing other data from the BBPA, please contact

The full tables including quarterly data can also be downloaded on the BBPA website here.


Beer Duty, Brewing, General, Statistics

For further information contact:

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

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