lager has returned to volume growth in the supermarkets after three years of decline.

Volume sales have risen 2.6% over the past year, according to Nielsen data for The Grocer Top Products Survey [52 w/e 11 October]. This follows lager volume declining by between 1.3% and 3.5% year on year in the preceding three years.

Industry insiders said growth had been driven by factors such as the shift from on-trade to off-trade custom, and duty cuts that had boosted marketing spend.

The World Cup also played a key role. As The Grocer revealed in June, eight of Britain’s 10 biggest beer and cider brands were cheaper in the run-up to the 2014 tournament than at the start of the 2010 cup.

One senior buyer suggested the World Cup had “set the bar” for pricing for the rest of the year, adding retailers had run three-for-£20 or slabs of beer for £10 for a “significant” number of weeks.

And volume has come at the expense of value - with category sales up just 2% to £3.1bn.

Among the steepest drops in price were Carling, down 4.4% to £1.69 a litre on average, and Foster’s, down 3.9% to £1.72. Budweiser dropped its price by 1.8% and grew value sales by 11.4%. All three increased volume sales.

Only two top 10 lagers - Peroni and San Miguel - have increased in price, according to Nielsen.

“World beers have enjoyed consistent growth this year,” said Gary Haig, MD at Peroni owner Miller Brands UK. “Everyday premium lagers had a strong spring and summer but have since tailed off.”