Beer sales saw the biggest year-on-year increase for 45 years in 2018, according to the latest Beer Barometer sales data from the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA).
Total beer sales increased by 2.6% last year, driven by off-trade sales growth of 4.7%, with the on-trade increasing by 0.1%.
Despite a difficult start to 2018 for the beer and pub sector, with total sales of beer in Q1 2018 down by 1.7% on the same period in 2017, consistent growth in Q2 (up 3.6% on Q2 2017), Q3 (up 4.4% on Q3 2017) and Q4 (up 3.1% on Q4 2017) meant it was a record year for beer sales.
Increased beer sales in Q2 and Q3 2018 were driven by the success of England at the World Cup and the good weather.
Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of British Beer & Pub Association, said: “2018 has been a good year for beer and pubs. Considering the heavy cost burdens the industry faces from high beer duty, business rates and rising costs in general, it’s great to see beer sales doing the best they have for some years.
“A significant amount of the growth in beer sales in 2018 can be attributed to the England team’s performance at the World Cup and the good weather over the summer months.
“The Chancellor’s decision in the 2018 Autumn Budget to freeze beer tax also appears to have had an immediate impact, with sales of beer in pubs growing in the last quarter of 2018 by 2.2%. This shows just how important reducing the beer tax burden is to boosting sales of beer and helping pubs with their footfall.
“As the UK’s alcoholic drink of choice, which continues to have a much bigger, positive impact on the UK economy than any other drink, it is important that beer continues to do well and that the Chancellor continues to support pubs.”