Page last updated at 00:56 GMT, Monday, 27 October 2008

UK beer sales continue to slide

A woman drinks a pint of beer

Beer sales in the UK are continuing to fall, with drinkers' concerns about their finances being partly blamed.

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said increased alcohol taxes was another reason for a sales slump equivalent to 1.8 million pints a day.

Overall sales from July to September fell by 7.2% - compared with the same period a year ago, the BBPA said.

And the trend had now fed through to supermarkets and off-licences as well as in pubs and clubs.

Pub closures

Bar chart of beer sales
"The accelerating decline in beer sales is a clear sign of a worsening economy, worried households and weakening spending," said BBPA chief executive Rob Hayward said.

He added that the sales trend was "symptomatic of the problems infecting the broader economy".

"Sinking beer sales and the record five pubs a day closing is a barometer of the UK economic climate," Mr Hayward said.

"But any prudent diagnosis would also identify the specific impact of the Budget's 9% beer tax increase."

He called on the government to ease the constraints of tax and regulation on the sector.

Industry figures feel that the government is placing too much blame on alcohol for problems in society.

Beer sales in pubs, bars and restaurants fell 8.1% in the quarter, and dropped 6% in supermarkets.

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