Find a news story

Refine your search here

Back to results

UK beer sales struggle in second quarter –‘Beer Barometer’ from the British Beer & Pub Association


  • Beer sales down 5.3 per cent in both pub and the high street, despite strong sales at Jubilee and end of quarter
  • March tax hike not boosting revenues – Treasury Minister’s claims on deficit “misguided”
  • e-petition demanding an end to punitive tax rises has 68,000 signatures

UK beer sales dipped sharply in the second quarter 2012, as poor weather, and the impact of another substantial tax hike in the March Budget failed to compensate for strong trading around the Jubilee weekend and the Euro 2012 football. These new sales figures come from the British Beer & Pub Association quarterly Beer Barometer, issued today.

The British Beer & Pub Association also says that the six per cent decline in sales means the tax hike has brought the Chancellor no extra revenues. Its Chief Executive, Brigid Simmonds, has called recent claims from Minister Chloe Smith that, the policy was helping to tackle the deficit, “misguided”. UK beer sales have fallen by 15 per cent since the controversial policy was introduced in March 2008, with beer duty up by an eye-watering 42 per cent over the same period. The BBPA and Oxford Economics believe this decision will cost some 5,000 jobs in 2012/13.

On and off trade sales both struggled from April to June. Overall beer sales fell by 5.3 per cent in the quarter compared to last year, with on trade sales down 4.6 and the off trade down 5.9 per cent. The loss means that Britain’s beer drinkers consumed 115 million fewer pints of beer than in the same period last year.

A Government e-petition demanding an end to these punitive tax rises has already attracted over 68,000 signatures, and is racing towards the 100,000 needed to trigger a Parliamentary debate on the issue.

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

“The Chancellor can’t change the weather, but he can stop the misguided beer tax hikes that are damaging the sector and doing virtually nothing to help tackle the deficit. The very marginal rise in beer duty revenues the Government is achieving is being all but wiped out by a fall in income from employment and other taxes.

“There is growing public concern over its effect on brewing, pubs and jobs, and we do need urgent action.”

Notes to editors:

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

  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 own half of Britain’s 51,000 pubs

  3. Stop the beer duty escalator – sign the e-petition here

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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 Q2 2012


Beer Duty, General, Duty Fraud

For further information contact:

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

Just loading our latest tweet...