Beer sales in pubs have fallen to their lowest level since the Great Depression, new figures show. Publicans are pulling 14 million pints a day, 1.6 million fewer than last year and seven million less than at the height of the market in 1979. The latest figures come only a week after the findings of AC Nielson, the drinks market analyst, which showed that beer volumes in UK pubs and bars were running -9% for the first five months of the year. The decline is being blamed on pub closures in the wake of the smoking ban, rising costs and competition from supermarkets, according to The Daily Telegraph . Campaigners warn that the 10.6 per cent drop in sales between April and June compared with the same period last year could be the "final nail in the coffin" for hundreds of pubs. The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) claims that more than half of villages are "dry" for the first time since the Norman Conquest. Roy Bray, the Camra director for Surrey and Sussex, said: "Villages become soulless when the pubs close, there is nowhere left for people to meet and have fun. It is the death of a British institution." Last year, 1,409 pubs closed, almost seven times more than in 2006. rising costs. However, although pub takings are sliding, sales of beer in supermarkets is rising. The British Beer and Pub Association, which released the figures, is calling for a two-tier tax system to reduce duty on beer in pubs and raise it on sales in supermarkets and off-licences. Rob Hayward, of the BBPA, said: "Beer sales in pubs are now at their lowest level since the Great Depression of the 1930s. We need a change of approach."