Beer Sales Down Again

4 Dec 2010

Beer sales fell again in the year to September 2010 with beer sales in the “on trade” falling off cliff – down 37.8% from peak levels - as pubs are priced out of the market and close says GMB

Total alcohol volumes released for UK consumption in the year to September 2010 are up 2.1% on the levels for the year to November 09, the lowest point in the recession, but down 0.45% on the figure for the year to August 2010.

Official HMRC figures released show that the volume of wine released for UK consumption in the year to September 2010 was up by 0.4% on the volume for the year to August 2010 and was 2.0% up on the volume for the year to September 2009.

In the year to September 2010 the volume of cider released for UK consumption was down by 1.4% on the volume for the year to August 2010 and was 4.8% up on the volume for the year to September 2009.

In the year to September 2010 the volume of spirits released for UK consumption was down by 0.7% on the volume for the year to August 2010 and was down 1.7% on the volume for the year to August 2009.

In the year to September 2010 the volume of beer released for UK consumption was down by 0.5% on the volume for the year to August 2010 and was 4.4% down on the volume for the year to September 2009.

In the year to September 2010 the volume of beer released for UK consumption in the “on trade” was down by 0.48% on the volume for the year to August 2010 and was 7.6% down on the figure for the year to September 2009. Sales of beer in the “on trade” are down 37.8% on the levels in 2002.

In the year to September 2010 the volume of beer released for UK consumption in the “off trade” was down by 0.46% on the volume for the year to July 2010 and was 0.54% down on the volume for the year to September 2009.

The analysis by GMB, the union for tied pub tenants, shows an unsteady and uneven recovery underway in the seasonally adjusted monthly volumes of some type of alcoholic drinks released for consumption in the UK while volumes are still well below pre-recession levels for all types of alcoholic drinks except cider.

Hayley Brennan, GMB organiser for tied pub tenants, said “These latest figures from HMRC show another fall in alcohol volumes in the UK in the year to September 2010. Recovery from recession is slow and has not yet been seen in most tied pubs.

Beer sales fell again in the year to September.  Beer sales in the “on trade” are falling off cliff as pubs are priced out of the market and close down.

Overcharging for wet and dry rents by the pubcos is rapidly killing the pub trade with beer sales in pubs down 37.8% on 2002 levels. Customers are simply refusing to pay the additional pound per drink to pay these inflated rents. They are deserting pubs in droves. The recent OFT report concluded that this was not a consumer issue and that pubcos were free“ to go to hell on a hand cart” if that is what they wanted to do.

Pubs that survived the blitz and the slump in the 1930s are going under. It is no exaggeration to say that the British pub is on life support and will not survive unless the poison of high rents and high prices injected by the pubcos is removed. There is no sign of this.

Tenants are desperate and many fear that their pubs will not survive the rate of VAT increasing to 20% in January unless there is action by Government to end the market abuse by pubcos. There is no sign of this either.

The government proposals for the on trade in the imminent licensing overhaul takes no account of this massive decline in alcohol sold in pubs since 2002. The proposals are predominantly unjust & misdirected and will make matters worse for tenants. The proposals will have a minimal impact on binge drinking unless they robustly address the off trade who are responsible for the largest proportion of alcohol sold in the UK.”