Beer sales in the second quarter of 2019 were down 2.2% on the same period in 2018, according to the latest Beer Barometer sales data from the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA).

The slump was driven by falling beer sales in the on-trade, which decreased by 2.8% on the same period in 2018. Sales of beer in the off-trade also fell, decreasing by 1.7% on the same quarter in 2018.

The BBPA has highlighted that the decline was against a particularly strong second quarter in 2018, where sales were boosted by a long period of good weather and the group stages of the World Cup.

Beer sales in the on- trade, however, remain under considerable pressure generally, with pub numbers continuing to decline as a result of high taxes, including beer duty.

The BBPA has been clear that measures need to be taken by the Chancellor to, at the very least, cut, or if not, freeze, beer duty in the Budget. Without doubt this will help many community pubs to survive, it says.

Action required on beer duty and business rates, says industry

At the moment, public finances include an inflation-linked increase in beer duty. The BBPA is therefore continuing to support the Long Live The Local campaign, by Britain’s Beer Alliance, which is calling for a cut in beer duty to decrease the significant cost pressures pubs face and help give them a boost. The trade association also supports action on business rates, which it claims are overdue for reform.

BBPA chief executive, Brigid Simmonds OBE, said: “Britain’s beer industry is a world-class manufacturing sector. Together, brewing and pubs support 900,000 jobs in towns and villages across the UK. As the nation’s favourite alcoholic drink, it is important that the Chancellor supports beer and the pubs that serve it in their local communities.

“We know that cuts and freezes to beer duty make a big difference in helping pubs and boosting beer sales. There is a very real threat, however, that the Chancellor, Sajid Javid, will increase beer duty at the next Budget.

“After two back-to-back beer duty freezes in 2017 and 2018, an increase would be a big step back. What we really need is a beer duty cut to give pubs a big boost.”

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