The volume of beer, ale, lager and stout sold through the on-trade was about 4% lower during February, March and April than in the same period last year, according to confidential figures drawn up by the British Beer & Pub Association. Sales of beer have fallen gradually from a peak in the late Seventies, while the volume of lager has crept up from 20% to about 70%. But even lager sales dropped nearly 1% this year. Alistair Darby, of Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries, admitted the last quarter had been tough. Consumers, he said, were pulling their horns in. Sales of RTDs like Bacardi Breezer, Smirnoff Ice and WKD are also falling steeply with some estimates as high as 15%. But sales of wine and vodka are rising. The Mail on Sunday 19/06/05 (Financial Mail) page 6