British Beer Pub Association data has shown that in the three months to the end of April, the volume of beer sold through the on-trade in the UK was about four per cent lower than a year earlier.
The amount of beer bought to drink at home has scarcely changed after increasing steadily for decades.
Sales of beer as a whole have fallen gradually from a peak in the late Seventies. But the volume of lager has edged up as it has taken market share from ales and stouts.
Lager accounted for less than one pint in five sold 30 years ago. Now its share of the UK beer market is about 70 percent.
The severity of the beer market downturn means that even lager sales have fallen. The amount of lager that was drunk in the three months to April was nearly one percent lower than a year earlier.