On-trade beer volumes fell 4.3% in Q3 2011, despite total volumes rising 1.6%, according to the latest Quarterly Beer Barometer from the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA). Although the decline in on-trade volumes is slowing - they fell 7.5% in Q3 2010 - the BBPA warned that sales have “not bottomed out”. The 4.3% decline represents 45m million fewer pints sold over the same period in 2010. In the off-trade, Q3 volumes increased 9.1%, although the BBPA pointed out that this was against particularly weak volumes in the same period in 2010, as people ran down their stocks after the football World Cup. BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “It is good to see some growth in the beer market overall, and we are seeing some new pubs opening, with successful operators innovating, and broadening their offer to consumers. “However, there is no doubt that pubs continue to bear the brunt of Britain’s punitive tax policies on beer. We’ve seen beer tax rise by 35% since March 2008, with Britons now paying an astonishing 40% of all the beer taxes collected in the entire European Union. This is still shutting pubs and costing jobs, in a sector that could create growth in the economy. “We know that given the right tax and regulatory environment we can grow the sector, hiring more staff, adding to the nation’s wealth and maintaining our proud pub heritage. We certainly don’t need the further beer tax rises the Government is planning under a misguided tax escalator policy.”