Tuesday, 25 January 2011

More bad news

Beer sales fell by 3.9% in 2010 according to the British Beer & Pub Association. No surprise there, the brewers and Pubcos have been warning us for months that sales were down. The worrying thing is that beer sales in pubs dropped by 7.5%.

© Renjith Krishnan
Shop sales actually increased by 0.6% which confirms what we already know. In a declining market cheap unregulated supermarket booze is holding its own at the expense of highly regulated, expensive-to-run pubs.

Beer duty rose by 5% in April 2010, VAT increased from 17½% to 20% earlier this month and the duty escalator introduced by Labour which this Government has retained, means that the annual RPI increase of 4.8% may well result in a 6.8% duty increase in September 2011. These are hammer blows to pub owners and tenants.

Microbreweries have done well as the larger brewers have ignored real ale and punters have tended to gravitate to specialist real ale pubs. Continued job losses and excessive price rises must surely halt this boom sooner rather than later. Unless there is a drastic change of tack in the treatment of pubs they will survive in ever dwindling numbers. A bleak future for all beer lovers.

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