The summer of sport has failed to reignite the beer market, with off-trade volume sales of beer down 6.5% in the third quarter of 2012.
The latest figures from the British Beer and Pub Association have prompted the trade body to renew calls for a freeze in the beer duty escalator, which has driven a 42% increase in the retail price of beer since March 2008.
The Q3 decline, seen in BBPA’s quarterly Beer Barometer, follows a 5.3% fall in off-trade beer sales in the second quarter of the year, which included the Jubilee celebrations.
Taken overall, the figures show that brewers and retailers’ hopes that a summer of Royal and sporting celebrations would boost the category were quashed. In the six months from March to September, 232 million fewer pints of beer were drunk across the on and off-trade than in the same period in 2011.
MPs from the All-Parliamentary Beer Group, which champions the brewing sector, will push today for a full Parliamentary debate on the impact of the duty escalator, which increases duty on beer by 2% above the rate of inflation annually. Last month, a petition promoted by CAMRA and the beer industry passed the 100,000-signature threshold, which means the government must consider holding a debate.
The BBPA quotes analysis from Oxford Economics that suggests a duty freeze in March 2013 would save 5,000 jobs in the sector, across retailers, pubs and brewers.
“If the government wants to encourage growth, back British business and support local communities, then it must end the beer duty escalator,” said BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds OBE. “The Chancellor must listen to the thousands of people now calling for a change, so the sector can grow, create jobs and contribute more to UK plc.”