The latest figures from the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) show a 3.8 per cent decline in quarterly beer sales with pub and supermarket sales dropping by the same percentage.
The drop comes on the back of an 8.8 per cent fall in the equivalent period in 2010 – the biggest percentage decline since 2005.
Beer has been struggling for years in the UK as people become more adventurous in their drinking choices.
But the decline over the last couple of years has been exceptional. The recession has put a brake on consumer spending on beer and there is still some way to go before the industry can be confident of growth.
Tax to dampen warm weather boost
The economy remains weak and the government has announced a 7.2 per cent tax rise recently that could dampen the sales picture later in the year.
“Taken together, the fall in sales, and the impact of the Budget shows sales in the sector are still fragile,” said Brigid Simmonds, BBPA chief executive.
But there is some cause for optimism, according to the BBPA. Recent warm weather and a high number of public holidays are likely to boost beer sales figures for the second quarter.
The industry association said: “The good weather at Easter, and the extended bank holiday season may help the second quarter figures, as people flock to pubs to enjoy the Royal Wedding and the sunshine.”