Beer sales in the first quarter of 2018 were 1.7% down on the same period in 2017, according to the latest Beer Barometer sales data from the British Beer & Pub Association. This compares with a 3.4% rise in Q1 of 2017, the first time the industry had posted an increase in Q1 beer sales since 2004.
The decrease in sales for Q1 2018 affected both the on-trade and off-trade. On-trade sales fell by 1.9% and off-trade sales fell by 1.5% compared to Q1 2017.
Last year, the industry took a £130 million hit with the increase in duty at the March Budget. November’s duty freeze was a welcome move, but more still needs to be done by the Government to support beer and keep a pint in the Great British pub affordable for consumers.
Brigid Simmonds, BBPA Chief executive, said: “Beer sales experienced another fall at the beginning of the year and the industry will be hoping for better prospects this summer, especially as the FIFA World Cup will be a big draw to the pub. What’s still needed is a continued focus from the Government to reduce the tax burden on beer and pubs to ensure their success in the future.”