Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Trundling down the slope

The latest edition of the UK Quarterly Beer Barometer produced by the BBPA confirms the trend of the past two quarters, with a continued steady decline in on-trade beer sales, although not as steep as those often seen over the preceding three years. Over the past year, they are down by 5.2%, compared with an average of 7.4% in 2008-2010. This is more a steady trundle down a slope than a precipitate fall off a cliff. However, even this will lead to a halving of the figure in thirteen years.

Off-trade sales, which are always much more affected by seasonal fluctuations, are down by 3.6% in the year, although slightly up compared with the year to June 2011. The overall beer market is 4.4% down, which no doubt will give Don Shenker some cause for celebration. This may defer the arrival of the “tipping point” when off-trade sales exceed the on-trade, as the retailers seem to have largely passed on the recent duty increase, which has perhaps slowed the rate of change.