Beer sales in pubs are now at their lowest since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and according to new figures released today, Britain’s pubs are struggling to compete with supermarkets as consumers move toward a ‘drink at home’ culture.
Beer sales in pubs, bars and restaurants are down seven million pints since the industry’s height in 1979. In the first half of this year, on-trade sales have dropped by 9.6 per cent on the same period last year, while supermarket and off-licence sales have risen by 7.4 per cent.
The British Beer and Pub Association estimates that the government has now lost £88m in beer tax on the last three months alone, and with the growing numbers of pub closures and dwindling consumer confidence, the BBPA is calling for the government to take immediate action.
“With around one million jobs reliant on the trade, the loss of 1.6 million pints a day is having a serious impact, not just on the sector itself, but on the UK economy as a whole,” commented Rob Hayward, Chief Executive of the BBPA. “Yet with further duty increases planned, the Treasury continues to see the brewing industry as a ‘cash cow’ to be milked in future budgets. We need a change of approach from the Government.”
The news follows a move by police to outlaw irresponsible drink promotions by pubs, such as happy hours, after the BBPA last month ripped up a code of conduct disciplining the extent of happy hour promotions.