Beer sales – aided by the World Cup - saw their first like-for-like quarterly increase in sales in four years, the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) revealed this morning. It said beer sales in the second quarter were up by 2.9% - the first quarterly like-for-like sales increase since the second quarter of 2006. Pub beer sales were down by 6.3% - but sales were 166 million pints up on the first three months of 2010, the first rise since the second quarter of 2009 The off-trade experienced a 13.7% hike in sales during the same period. The BBPA said more than 2.2 billion pints were sold during April to June, the best performance since the fourth quarter of 2008. Beer sales were 625 million pints up on the first quarter and 63 million pints up on the same period in 2009. Year-on-year the beer market is down 1.4 per cent - a significant slowdown in the rate of decline and the best result since the second quarter of 2006. Brigid Simmonds, BBPA Chief Executive, comments: “The World Cup has certainly been a benefit to Britain’s beer sector and we can now hope that the market is starting to turn a corner. “However, while there is some reason for cheer, it has to be noted that beer sales in pubs are still falling and the nation’s pubs need support. The Government must carefully consider how best to use its Review of Alcohol Taxation to rebalance the tax system, freeze beer tax and support Britain’s pubs, recognising the economic and social contribution of these vital community assets. “60% of drink sales in community pubs are beer, so a beer tax break would be a real benefit to their business.”