The latest BBPA ‘Beer Barometer’ revealed that total beer sales were up 1.3 per cent in 2014, the first annual uplift in ten years.
However, most of the growth was seen in off-trade sales, which grew by 3.5 per cent in 2014 to overtake on-trade sales for the first time.
Beer sales in pubs did stabalise, showing decline of just 0.8 per cent – the lowest drop since 1996 - but the BBPA said more needed to be done to turn around the fortunes of the UK pub sector.
The organisation called for the Chancellor to cut beer duty for a third time in the next budget.
Need for growth
BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “British beer is back in growth – and we want to keep it that way. But with seventy per cent of pub drink sales being beer, the picture for our much loved pubs is still fragile.
“That is why another duty cut from the Chancellor is vital. It will build on the success of two very popular tax cuts in the past two years, and boost jobs in an industry that employs 900,000 people, almost half of whom are 16-24 year olds. That has got to be good news.”
CAMRA chief executive Tim Page added: "It is fantastic to see overall beer sales back in growth for the first time in ten years, but it is vitally important that beer sales in pubs move back into growth too.
"The 0.8% drop in pub beer sales is the smallest decline in sales since 1996, but if we want to see less pubs closing it is vital that number is pushed into positive growth. A third beer duty cut in next month's budget will help ensure that 2015 is the year when pub beer sales finally start growing again."
Backing the BBPA campaign to cut beer duty, Enterprise Inns is urging publicans to write letters or emails to their local MPs and spread the word via social media.
The pub company has also written to MPs in constituencies in and around its Solihull headquarters.
Enterprise chief executive Simon Townsend said: “Beer duty is now 13% lower than under the tax rises previously planned. This has resulted in millions of extra investment in Britain’s breweries and pubs and has boosted jobs in our sector by more than 16,000.
“The tax cuts were not easily won. It took tens of thousands of individual actions and contacts with MPs, lasting for several years, in which BBPA members played a major part, which is why we need to keep the pressure up for a beer duty cut or freeze in the Budget on 18 March. It’s vital if the publicans we partner are to run successful businesses.”