British 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 the first quarter of 2017 (the first time the industry had posted an increase in Q1 beer sales since 2004).  

The decrease this year affected both the on- 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 an increase in duty at the March Budget. 

BBPA chief executive, Brigid Simmonds, 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.”

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