Trade association says changes, combined with Alcohol Duty Review proposals, are a positive move forwards The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the leading trade association representing brewers and pubs, has today welcomed the Government’s proposals to improve the current structure of Small Brewer Relief (SBR) to more closely align with economies of scale and remove barriers to growth. The trade association hopes that the measures announced today, combined with the recent proposals set out in the wider Alcohol Duty Review, will build on the successes of SBR, whilst addressing the long standing distortions caused by the current structure. A British Beer & Pub Association spokesperson said: “We welcome these changes to Small Brewer Relief, a scheme which provides a major boost to the UK’s small brewers. The proposals seek to more closely align with economies of scale and will address barriers to growth. “Combined with the recent duty freeze and proposals set out in the new Alcohol Duty Review, we hope this will now stimulate business growth and investment in Britain’s brewers of all sizes at a crucial time in their recovery post-covid.”
Total beer sales fell by 14.2% in 2020 due to pandemic and lockdowns, new BBPA data reveals The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the leading trade association representing brewers and pubs, has today revealed that Brits drank more wine and spirits – but less beer – during the 2020 lockdowns. The finding comes from new data published by the BBPA in its latest 2021 Statistical Handbook – a ‘must read’ for anyone with an interest in the UK drinks sector. During the lockdowns of 2020, the percentage share of alcohol consumed through wine in the UK increased by 2 percentage points. Over the same period, the percentage share of alcohol consumed through beer decreased by 4 percentage points – with total beer sales in 2020 falling by 14.2%. It means that during 2020 and the height of the pandemic and lockdowns, Brits consumed 33% of their alcohol through beer and another 33% through wine, compared to 37% for just beer and 31% for just wine in 2019. Over the same period, Brits consumed 26% of their alcohol from spirits, up 2 percentage points from 2019. According to the BBPA, the key reason behind the shift in drinking habits during the pandemic was due to the forced closure of pubs, which led to Brits consuming wine and spirits bought from supermarkets and shops instead of draught beer bought over the pub bar. Typically, 7 in 10 alcoholic drinks served in a pub are beer. The trade association says the data shows how crucial pubs are to encouraging moderate consumption of alcohol through draught beer, which is on average 4.2% ABV. It also said the numbers demonstrated the damage of lockdowns to brewers, who lost a key route to market when pubs were forced to close during the lockdowns of 2020. At the recent Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled changes to modernise the alcohol duty regime in the UK to better incentivise the consumption of lower-strength drinks such as lower alcohol beer. This, the BBPA hopes, will aid British beer in growing market share once more, along with the reopening of pubs in 2021 where consumers are more likely to choose beer on draught over wine or spirits. Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “Lockdowns and the shutting of pubs in 2020 meant Brits drank more wine and spirits, but less beer, than in previous years. “With the pubs closed, its clear people turned to wine and spirits from shops and supermarkets rather than beer. Because of this, overall beer sales in 2020 fell by 14.2%. In short, sales in supermarkets didn’t make up for sales lost from closed pubs. “It goes to show that when people visit the pub they primarily drink beer, which on average is 4.2% ABV, the lowest strength alcohol category and so ideal for moderate consumption. It is great to see the Chancellor recognise this and promote lower strength alcohol drinks with his changes to the UK alcohol duty regime announced in the recent Budget. “With pubs open and trading again in 2021, we hope customers will revert to choosing a beer at their local – a safe and managed space at the heart of communities throughout the UK.” All statistics used in this press release are in the latest BBPA Statistical Handbook 2021 – available here.
BBPA welcomes Budget to support recovery of pubs and brewers Responding to the Chancellor’s Budget, Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “Pubs, brewers and beer drinkers will be toasting the Chancellor today for a range of business-boosting measures. “Pubs pay 2.5% of Business Rates despite accounting for only 0.5% of rateable turnover – an overpayment of £570m. Cancelling the rates multiplier and cutting rates for pubs by 50% for one year is a much-needed boost to our sector in its fragile recovery. “The 50% cut to business rates alone will save pubs £169 million. However, the cap of £110,000 per business is a huge dampener and means a significant number of pubs will not benefit from the relief at all. “The multiplier freeze will save English pubs £32 million. “The announcement that business rates revaluations will happen more frequently is also welcome, as is the one year improvement allowance. However, we remain concerned that for the longer term the inherent unfairness of the business rates system for pubs has not been addressed. “The Chancellor’s decision to freeze beer duty instead of the RPI linked increase he had planned is to be warmly welcomed. It will save £177 million and secure 9,000 vital jobs across the country. Clearly, the Chancellor listened to the 134,000 people who signed the Long Live The Local petition calling on him to support pubs and brewers in the Budget. “Pub goers will also be toasting the Chancellor today for announcing a 5% lower duty rate on draught beer worth £62 million. This is great news for our local pubs and recognises the crucial role they play in our economy and society. However, the overall beer duty rate in the UK remains amongst the highest in Europe. It is vital for Britain’s brewers, a world class homegrown manufacturing success story, that the overall beer duty burden is reduced – not just duty on draught beer in pubs. “Beer is a low-strength product and breweries have invested heavily in developing a range of innovative, exciting and great tasting low and no alcohol beers. We therefore welcome proposals to reduce duty on lower-strength products as part of the proposed modernisation of the alcohol duty regime to better incentivise the consumption of lower-strength drinks. “Overall, this has been a good Budget for pubs as they recover from the pandemic. The measures announced today will help pubs and breweries play a leading role in levelling up the economy and building stronger, more vibrant communities throughout the country.”