Find a news story

Refine your search here

Back to results

UK beer sales drop in Q4 2012 – action needed now on tax hikes, say brewers and pubs – new quarterly BBPA ‘Beer Barometer’


  • Pub beer sales down 4.8 per cent on Q4 2011, with off-trade sales down 7.5 per cent
  • Beer sales in Q4 whole of 2012 down 6.2 per cent
  • Urgent need for tax policy change, says BBPA

New figures out today on UK beer sales show that the Treasury’s damaging tax policy continues to hit the sector hard, with a 6. 2 per cent decline in total UK beer sales in the 4th quarter of 2012. On-trade and off-trade sales both struggled, with off trade-sales (shops and supermarkets) down 7.5 per cent and the on-trade (pubs, bars and restaurants) down 4.8 per cent.

The British Beer & Pub Association said its latest UK Quarterly ‘Beer Barometer’, shows a pressing need for a review of the Government’s controversial policy of above inflation tax hikes for beer in the Budget in March – as industry, MPs, and the public are all now demanding.

The fall in consumption of what is largely a UK produced product, means that 138 million fewer pints of beer were enjoyed in Q4 2012, as compared to Q4 2011, with Government revenues also hit. An analysis from Oxford Economics indicates that a duty freeze in March would save 5,000 jobs in the sector this year, which employs almost 1 million people – mostly younger people in Britain’s pubs.

In recent weeks there have been growing calls for a change of Government policy. On 1st November, MPs voted for a review of the escalator, which has so far been refused by the Treasury. This followed a petition signed by over 100,000 calling for government action. Industry also wants a freeze in beer duty in the March Budget to protect pubs, jobs – and Government revenues.

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

“These figures show that the Government needs to stop its full-on tax assault on our vital beer and pub industry. We’ve had tax hikes of 42 per cent since March 2008, which is hugely damaging and completely unacceptable for such an important manufacturing sector. Instead, we could be protecting and creating jobs at a time when the country most needs it.”

Notes to editors:

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 50,000 pubs.

  1. Full excel tables can be downloaded from the BBPA website below.

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

  3. A study for the BBPA by Oxford Economics shows that the 5 per cent tax rise in the budget will result in only £92m in extra beer duty revenues, which will almost be offset by the loss of employment and other taxes (and increase in social security spending) resulting from the 5.000 jobs the sector will lose as a result.

  4. Beer duty was increased by 5 per cent in the March 2012 Budget. The total increase in beer duty since March 2008 stands at 42 per cent. The Government’s controversial beer tax ‘escalator’ policy means increases of two per cent above inflation until 2014/15.

  5. 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 100 per cent of all beer sold in the UK. A change has been made in the methodology of the calculations in this quarter’s Beer Barometer, to better reflect the entire UK beer market including imports and the microbrewery sector. Previous data has been readjusted accordingly.

  6. 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.

Beer Tax - more key figures:

• Beer tax (Duty plus VAT) per pub: £66,500
• Average price of a pub pint of beer: £3.17
• Duty on a 5 per cent pint of beer: 55p
• Beer duty increase since March 2008: 42%


» UK Quarterly Beer Barometer Q4 2012


Beer Duty, Pubs

For further information contact:

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

Just loading our latest tweet...