The UK ale market is in “long term decline”, according to Yorkshire brewer Theakston’s as it reported a 6% fall in turnover but a jump in profits in 2010. The cask, keg and bottled beer brewer also hit out at Progressive Beer Duty, the system of tax breaks for smaller brewers, for distorting the market in favour of lower-volume producers, as it announced its results for the year to 31 December 2010. The Old Peculier brewer saw turnover last year fall from £10.544m to £9.914m. Operating profit increased 20% to £1.752m, with profit before tax up from £0.979m to £1.346m. Theakston’s said the UK beer market continues to be “highly competitive, principally as a consequence of further significant restructuring”. “Within this, the ale sector continues to be in long-term decline.” The company added: “The introduction of Progressive Beer Duty in 2002 has led to the creation of unintended market distortions which, as a consequence of the rise in beer tax [35% since 2008] offer an increasingly significant advantage to small scale, micro brewers of cask ale.” Theakston’s also said retailer consolidation “continues to apply pressure to trading margins both within the on-trade and the take-home markets”. Rental income from Theakston Pub Company, a separate firm owned by Theakston directors that rents premises from the brewer, increased from £87,000 to £119,000 last year. Cash balance for the year-end was £739,917. Net debt stood at £6.105m on 31 December 2010, down from £7.825m on 1 January 2010. No interim dividend was paid in the period and the directors recommended that no final dividend be paid.