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Bucking beer trend as UK ale sales dip
SALES of ale have struggled in the second quarter of the year, according to the British Beer & Pub Association’s (BBPA) Beer Barometer.
The association said beer sales were down 5.3 per cent in both pubs and the high street, despite strong sales during the Jubilee, Euro 2012 football and at the end of the period.
However, some of York’s pubs and microbreweries have been bucking the trend. Ana Mattless, who took over as landlady of the Blacksmiths Arms in Huntington in February, said: “We get really good trade on the bar.”
She said customers would come if there was something to offer, and since reinvigorating the pub with more of a food offer they had increased beer sales.
Craig Lee, managing director of Rudgate Brewery in Tockwith, said the picture of decline was not true for all sections of the market.
He said: “Smaller breweries are still taking off and the bigger guys are pulling out of cask beer. For the likes of me and other local breweries, sales are soaring, but nationally as a whole beer sales are dropping.”
The BBPA said poor weather and the impact of another tax hike in the March Budget were to blame for Britain’s beer drinkers consuming 115 million fewer pints of beer than in the same period last year. Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the BBPA, said the decline in sales meant the tax rises brought the Chancellor no extra revenues.
UK beer sales have fallen by 15 per cent since the beer duty escalator was introduced in March 2008, with ale taxes going up by 42 per cent since then.
Research by the BBPA and Oxford Economics indicated the decision could cost some 5,000 jobs in 2012/13, and a e-petition to the Government against the controversial tax-rise system has attracted more than 68,000 signatures.
Ms Simmonds said: “The very marginal rise in beer duty revenues the Government is achieving is being all but wiped out by a fall in income from employment and other taxes.
“There is growing public concern over its effect on brewing, pubs and jobs, and we do need urgent action.”