Beer sales soar in the off-trade

Off-trade beer sales were up 7.6% in the third quarter of 2018, according to new figures from the British Beer & Pub Association.

Pubs also enjoyed a much-needed boost, as on-trade sales rose 0.9%, but the take-home market was the driving force as overall beer volumes grew 4.4% on the same period in 2017.

Off-trade sales stood at 3,844,000 barrels in Q3, while on-trade volumes reached 3,268,000 barrels. That followed extremely strong Q2 sales, when there were 4,156,000 barrels sold in the off-trade and 3,346,000 in the on-trade.

The market benefited from glorious summer weather and England’s unexpected run to the World Cup semi-finals.

A CO2 shortage threatened to kill off any chances of achieving sales growth, but the figures show that those fears were unfounded as brewers and retailers remained agile during this key trading period.

The industry was given a further boost last month as the Chancellor announced a freeze on beer duty in his Budget speech.

However, Brexit looms ominously on the horizon and the BBPA is calling for clarity on the transition period from March 29 onwards and a strong steer on the future relationship with the EU in order to reassure brewers, publicans and consumers alike.

Chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “It’s certainly good to see that beer sales are doing better overall. England’s success at the World Cup and good weather undoubtedly helped.

“The Chancellor’s decision in the Budget to freeze beer tax and lower business rates for thousands of pubs will make a huge difference to the viability of the sector moving forward, but Brexit looms large though and brewers and publicans alike need certainty.

“Clarity on the transition period from March 29 onwards and a strong steer on the future relationship with the EU would be a boost to the trade and beer sales. A no deal Brexit should be avoided at all costs.”

The Wine & Spirit Trade Association is also campaigning to ensure that Britain does not crash out of the EU without a deal in place.

This week it send hundreds of MPs bottles of gin with campaign slogan “Don’t Bottle It” emblazoned on the front.

Chief executive Miles Beale said: “The UK wine and spirit industry is a world leading £50bn industry which does half of its trade with the EU.

“With the launch of our Don’t Bottle It campaign, our message to Parliament is that ‘no deal’ is totally unacceptable. It would fail to deliver what we have asked for consistently since the Referendum and there is now simply not enough time to prepare for a no deal Brexit without causing serious damage to UK businesses.

“As we have said since the Referendum, the clock is ticking, and it has now all but run down.

“Despite the businesses we represent putting in place contingency measures as best they can, a no deal Brexit presents a multitude of difficulties which are outside of their control.

“Leaving the EU without a deal would result in chaos and inflict painful damage on these businesses.

“We are calling on parliament to ensure the UK does not leave the EU without a deal on 29 March 2019 – #NoToNoDeal.”

Related articles: