Even the Royal Wedding and sunny spring failed to prevent off-trade volume sales falling 15% to 3.34 million barrels in the three months to June, according to British Beer and Pub Association figures.
Although year-on-year comparison was skewed by the 14.1% boost the World Cup gave beer sales in Q2 of 2010, this year's figures were the lowest since 2003.
The BBPA said tax rises had caused the crash, but others blamed the slump on the failure of lager producers to innovate.
"Wines and spirits have also been hit by tax hikes but are doing better than beer," said Mintel senior drinks analyst Jonny Forsyth. "The Royal Wedding would have been watched by more people than the World Cup, and the weather was fantastic in April and May. These figures are a sign lager is in trouble."
However, recent launches showed brewers were beginning to re-engage with lager drinkers through NPD, he said, citing brand extensions Foster's Gold and Carling Chrome as well as Molson Coors' new female-friendly lager, Animée.
"It is vital brewers continue to invest in the category not just in marketing, but in terms of insight and category management," said Doug Walker, Heineken UK head of off-trade customer marketing. "This means NPD and true innovation in the way beer is presented to consumers at point of sale."