Beer sales in the third quarter of 2018 were up 4.4% on the same period in 2017, according to the latest Beer Barometer sales data from the British Beer & Pub Association.
Pubs (referred to as the On-Trade) in particular benefited from the much-needed boost, enjoying their first third-quarter growth in over 15 years, with sales increasing by 0.9 percentage points.
This increase in sales was driven by the success of England at the World Cup, which saw the national team reach the semi-finals of the tournament, driving footfall in pubs where fans watched the games. It was also driven in part by the good weather over the summer months, which encouraged people to visit their local and enjoy the pub garden.
In supermarkets and off-licences (referred to as the Off-Trade), beer sales in the third quarter of 2018 went up by 7.6% on the same period in 2017.
Although the World Cup was a welcome boost to pubs, it only comes around once every four years. This means pubs cannot rely on it for growth.
To improve the long-term sales of beer and the viability of pubs, appropriate measures are required by the government. The Chancellor’s decision to freeze beer duty and cut business rates for thousands of pubs in his most recent Budget was a very welcome boost for the industry.
Uncertainty around Brexit, however, is a major concern for the brewing and pub sector. With consumers unsure of what the final outcome of Brexit will be, pubs have started to see customers tighten their purse strings at the bar. Clarity on the transition period from March 29thonwards and a strong steer on the future relationship with the EU is needed to reassure brewers, publicans and consumers alike.
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Speaking on the Q3 2018 Beer Barometer, Brigid Simmonds, BBPA Chief Executive, said:
“It’s certainly good to see that beer sales are doing better overall. England’s success at the World Cup and good weather undoubtedly helped.
“The Chancellor’s decision in the Budget to freeze beer tax and lower business rates for thousands of pubs will make a huge difference to the viability of the sector moving forward, but Brexit looms large though and brewers and publicans alike need certainty. Clarity on the transition period from March 29thonwards and a strong steer on the future relationship with the EU would be a boost to the trade and beer sales. A no deal Brexit should be avoided at all costs.”