UK Beer Sales Plunge

Beer sales drop 85% in UK in first quarter

Beer sales in the UK plummeted by more than 8% in a year, underlining the ongoing pressure on the ailing drinks and hospitality industry in the grip of the recession.

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said fall in sales in the first quarter of 2009 was by far the highest first-quarter fall since 1997.

The breakdown of sales across all outlets showed poor results even for the off-trade sector, where despite many consumers opting to drink more cheaply at home, supermarket and off-licence beer sales dipped by 11%.

The new figures come less than a week after the chancellor announced plans to press ahead with a 2% rise in alcohol duty in the budget.