Pub beer sales plummet amid Covid and changing tastes

Almost one-and-a-half billion fewer pints were sold in British pubs in 2021 than in 2019, according to data from the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA).

The BBPA said pub beer sales were down 38 per cent in 2021 and there was an on-trade loss of £5.7 billion from beer sales alone – equivalent to 1.4 billion pints.

In 2020, trading was down 55 per cent compared to pre-pandemic levels.

BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “Every unsold pint is a strong reminder of the dislocating effect Covid restrictions had on our sector and the communities our pubs sit at the heart of.”

The BBPA also said there had been a shift in consumer consumption patterns. Between March 2020 and October 2021, beer receipts dropped 11 per cent while receipts for wine and spirits rose eight per cent and 13 per cent.

The BBPA attributes the shift to long periods of restriction pub trading, where beer is the most popular drink, and a rise in at-home drinking.

Ms McClarkin said the BBPA backed planned reforms to the alcohol duty system to “incentivise lower-strength products” and “differentiate beer from stronger wine and spirits”.

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