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Pub beer sales fall by 50 million pints

UK beer sales in pubs were down almost 50 million pints in the first quarter of 2013, compared to the same period last year, according to new figures released by the British Beer & Pub Association’s (BBPA) quarterly “Beer Barometer”.

The number of underage people drinking is fallingThe association points to the long winter and that the first quarter largely precedes the cut in beer duty announced in the Budget on 20 March.

Sales in pubs were down by 5.5% in the quarter, compared with a 0.1% rise in off-trade sales. The BBPA said that the fall in pub sales reflects the trend in recent years.

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the BBPA, said: “The figures show the chancellor was right to cut beer duty and abolish the escalator, given the huge tax rises in recent years. We would hope to see the benefits in second quarter sales, where brewers, pubs and pubgoers will see beer tax rates at nearly 7% lower than they were due to be.

“Beer has a very special place in pubs, and accounts for 68% of pub drinks’ sales. The duty cut has seen brewers and pub companies passing on the reduction to customers. It will encourage brewers and pubs to invest and create jobs.

“Other measures in the Budget will also help pubs, and are a further recognition that the government understands the importance of our sector. The changes to National Insurance were particularly helpful, as the pub trade largely comprises small businesses and employs around 600,000 people directly.”

Andrew Griffiths, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group, added: “These figures show just how important it is that the Treasury supports the brewing industry.

“By scrapping the beer duty escalator and cutting beer duty for the first time since 1959, I am sure the coalition government is giving the brewing industry a shot in the arm and that this will lead to growth in the sector in the future.”

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