UK and US beer sales are still falling

UK beer sales dropped by 1.7% to their lowest point in two years, according to new data from the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), as alcohol consumption worldwide continues to steadily fall.

The decrease in sales in the first quarter of 2018 affected both the on-trade and off-trade. On-trade sales fell by 1.9% and off-trade sales fell by 1.5% compared to the same period last year.

Brigid Simmonds, the BBPA’s chief executive, hopes that, following the surge of pint purchases over the royal wedding weekend, the FIFA World Cup will give the UK’s on-trade businesses “better prospects this summer.”

“Beer sales experienced another fall at the beginning of the year and the industry will be hoping for better prospects this summer, especially as the FIFA World Cup will be a big draw to the pub.

“What’s still needed is a continued focus from the Government to reduce the tax burden on beer and pubs to ensure their success in the future.”

The UK’s pubs and bars have struggled to shift pints over the past decade, with the BBPA revealing that 2017 saw the worst rate of transactions in five years.

The industry body cited a 3.9% duty increase in March 2017, higher operating costs for pubs including business rates increases, and sharply rising employment costs as key reasons for the drop in sales.

BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds said the figures were “hugely concerning” for the sector.

Meanwhile in the US, beer consumption has also dipped by 1.1% over the whole of 2017, the equivalent of losing 261 million litres in revenue, according to figures released by the IWSR.

Alcohol consumption in the US dropped for a second consecutive year in 2017, with overall volumes dragged down by declining beer sales, despite wine and spirits achieving gains.

Just over 60% of the country’s adult population consumed alcoholic beverages, down from 65% the year prior. People are drinking less, largely due to health concerns and a prevalent wellness trend affecting all social sectors.

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