World Cup hangover sparks UK beer sales slump

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Tax

UK consumers have lost their taste for beer in the third quarter as supermarket sales slump more than 10 per cent, according to data published by the British Beer & Pub Association.

The latest UK Quarterly Beer Barometer revealed that total Q3 beer sales in the UK dropped 9.7 per cent, with the off-trade market taking the biggest hit. Compared to Q3 2009, beer sales in supermarkets and off-license stores fell by 12 per cent.

World Cup

Part of the reason for the size of the slump could be the post-World Cup hangover. The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) said sales have tended to drop below seasonal norms after previous tournaments. Wet weather over summer then added to the downward pressure on sales.

“As has occurred after every World Cup the beer market hit a bump in the road, which was not helped by a wet summer,”​ said Brigid Simmonds, BBPA chief executive.


Simmonds added that the weak economic situation economy coupled with Government spending cuts is feeding consumer anxiety and having a negative impact on sales.

The spokesperson for the UK beer industry said: “Concern about the impact of public spending cuts on jobs and incomes and the forthcoming VAT and beer tax rises are feeding that unease.”

As the Government reviews licensing and alcohol taxation policy, BBPA is calling for political action to come to the aid of the sector. “Government is looking to the private sector to step into the breach and create jobs following the spending review​. It’s time for Government to ease that path by lightening the regulatory and tax load under which currently burdens the sector and is a brake on growth.”

The European beer industry is lobbying governments across the continent not to be tempted into higher beer taxes in answer to budget deficits. The Brewers of Europe has recently published an independent study that aims to highlight how higher beer taxes can backfire and even reduce government revenues. To read more about the study, click here.

Related topics Markets Beer, Wine, Spirits, Cider

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