Statistics / 03 December 2018
Beer sales in the third quarter of 2018 were up 4.4% on the same period in 2017, according to the latest Beer Barometer sales data from the British Beer & Pub Association.
Pubs (referred to as the On-Trade) in particular benefited from the much-needed boost, enjoying their first third quarter growth in over 15 years, with sales increasing by 0.9 percentage points.
This increase in sales was driven by the success of England at the World Cup, which saw the national team reach the semi-finals of the tournament, driving footfall in pubs where fans watched the games. It was also driven in part by the good weather over the summer months, which encouraged people to visit their local and enjoy the pub garden.
In supermarkets and off-licenses (referred to as the Off-Trade), beer sales in the third quarter of 2018 went up by 7.6% on the same period in 2017.
Although the World Cup was a welcome boost to pubs, it only comes around once every four years. This means pubs cannot rely on it for growth.
To improve the long-term sales of beer and the viability of pubs, appropriate measures are required by the government. The Chancellor’s decision to freeze beer duty and cut business rates for thousands of pubs in his most recent Budget was a very welcome boost for the industry.
Uncertainty around Brexit, however, is a major concern for the brewing and pub sector. With consumers unsure of what the final outcome of Brexit will be, pubs have started to see customers tighten their purse strings at the bar. Clarity on the transition period from March 29thonwards and a strong steer on the future relationship with the EU is needed to reassure brewers, publicans and consumers alike.
Speaking on the Q3 2018 Beer Barometer, Brigid Simmonds, BBPA Chief Executive, said:
“It’s certainly good to see that beer sales are doing better overall. England’s success at the World Cup and good weather undoubtedly helped.
“The Chancellor’s decision in the Budget to freeze beer tax and lower business rates for thousands of pubs will make a huge difference to the viability of the sector moving forward, but Brexit looms large though and brewers and publicans alike need certainty. Clarity on the transition period from March 29thonwards and a strong steer on the future relationship with the EU would be a boost to the trade and beer sales. A no deal Brexit should be avoided at all costs.”UK Quarterly Beer Barometer Q3 2018 Read more
18 December 2018
The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has welcomed the ambitious new governmentResources and waste strategy announced today by Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The new strategy, which hopes to create a more circular economy, includes the elimination of avoidable plastic waste. Commenting on the new waste strategy, Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “We welcome this new waste strategy and the brewing and pub sectors will be working closely with the Government to achieve its aims. “We support a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for plastic bottles and crucially the strategy’s recognition of the need for a UK-wide system, which is vital to avoid unnecessary costs and significant fraud risk in what is an integrated UK supply-chain and market for drinks containers. “Reducing food waste is also a key element of the strategy and although this will be yet another cost pressure for pubs, which already face tight margins, our sector recognises the role we have to play. This is why we continue to work with WRAP and are committed to the Courtauld Commitment 2025 to reduce food waste. The BBPA recently signed up to WRAP’s Food Waste Reduction Roadmap, which helps organisations to take targeted action to reduce their food waste. “The proposed reforms to Producer Packaging Responsibility (PRN) are likely to lead to significant cost increases as producers will bear the full cost of recycling or disposing of waste costs and so it is important that brewers and pubs, especially the smaller ones, are not overburdened by the changes. The strategies recognition that SMEs will need to be protected is therefore reassuring.”
18 December 2018
The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has welcomed the launch of a new consultation by BEIS (the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) to make National Minimum Wage rules more flexible. The consultation has been launched alongside the Good Work Plan, which sets out the Government’s vision for the UK labour market, implementing recommendations from the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices. Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “We welcome the decision by BEIS to launch a consultation to make National Minimum Wage rules more flexible. The move comes after the BBPA and others raised concerns over how restrictive the current National Minimum Wage conditions are, which unfairly penalise responsible companies. For example, the current conditions mean that employers who pay on a monthly basis have a month to correct any errors in pay, whilst those who pay on a weekly basis only get one week to correct any errors. “The consultation will look at Salary Sacrifice Schemes and their impact on the National Minimum Wage. We would welcome flexibility that is in the interest of the employee for this to address current irregularities. For example, pub chef’s knives which are commonly bought through Salary Sacrifice Schemes. “The consultation will also look at Salaried Workers for National Minimum Wage purposes, but at present this does not allow for the inclusion of those who are paid on a fortnightly or four-weekly basis, so in our consultation response we’ll be pushing to support this. “More broadly, this consultation needs to look into compliance when it comes to the National Minimum Wage to correctly ensure that protecting workers is front of mind as opposed to penalising businesses for the sake of it.”
14 December 2018
Analysis by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) suggests that almost 2,000 pubs in Wales will benefit from the Welsh Government’s decision to further invest in and extend the high street rates relief scheme in 2019-2020. The move will see each high street business receive a £2,500 cut to their rates next year. The analysis by the BBPA also found that the rates relief for pubs on the high street will be worth £4 million in total, with 500 pubs being taken out of business rates altogether. Commenting on the new high street relief scheme in Wales, Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “As a judge of this year’s Great British High Street’s competition, I had the pleasure to visit finalists in both Holywell and Cowbridge; both great examples of what good local partnerships can achieve, but there is so much more that we can do. The high street is an important part of any town or city. Of course, pubs are the heart of the community and an important part of the high street offer, but as an industry they face considerable cost pressures from a range of sources; particularly high beer duty, unfair business rates and VAT. “These measures by the Welsh Government to not only extend, but also increase investment in the high streets relief scheme are most welcome. Nearly 2,000 pubs in Wales will benefit from the rates relief with 500 pubs being taken out of business rates altogether. For some pubs, it could be the difference between staying open rather than closing their doors for good.” ENDS For further information, please contact: David Wilson, Director of Public Affairs: 020 7627 9151/ 07557 405 815 Nick Lawrie, Digital Communications Manager: 020 7627 9156/ 07824 359 013 Adam Beazley, Communications & Campaigns Officer: 020 7627 9155 / 07507 836 708 Notes to editors: BBPA analysis based on data from the Valuation Office Agency found: 1,917 pubs will benefit from the new high street rates relief in Wales The new high streets rates relief in Wales will be worth £4,012,674 to pubs in total 500 pubs will be taken out of business rates all together from the high street rates relief changes The British Beer & Pub Association is the leading body representing Britain’s brewers and pub companies. The Association is more than a century old and was originally founded as the Brewers’ Society in 1904. Our members account for some 90 per cent of beer brewed in Britain today, and own around 20,000 of the nation’s pubs.
14 December 2018
The Department of Health and Social Care has published its formal response to the consultation on low alcohol product labelling, confirming a previously widely-reported decision that there will be no changes to the descriptors for low and no alcohol products. Commenting on the decision, Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “Confirmation of this decision is bitterly disappointing. The Department of Health has missed this opportunity to give consumers greater clarity when it comes to the labelling of low alcohol beers. “Changing the current definition of ‘alcohol free’ beer from 0.05% ABV to 0.5% ABV – as we suggested during the consultation process – would have brought the UK in line with the rest of Europe and other global markets. This creates the perverse situation whereby beers at 0.5% ABV produced in Europe can be sold in the UK as “alcohol free”, but British brewers brewing at the same strength must label their beer differently. This is discrimination and will create confusion for consumers. “Whilst we have already seen significant growth in the low alcohol beer sector, the Government has failed to implement changes that would enable Britain’s brewers to further innovate and promote lower strength drinks to stimulate this growth further. “A decision by the Australian Government to introduce tax reductions for ‘lighter’ beer has already led to growth of such beers to occupy 25% of the market there. Sadly then, this decision by the UK Government represents a missed opportunity to provide a similar incentive here and gives no encouragement to those seeking to moderate their alcohol consumption. “There is plenty of evidence to show that moderate drinking brings health benefits, and beer, which is typically a low strength form of alcohol, is a great way to enjoy a well-earned drink whilst supporting your local pub.” ENDS For further information, please contact: David Wilson, Director of Public Affairs: 020 7627 9151/ 07557 405 815 Nick Lawrie, Digital Communications Manager: 020 7627 9156/ 07824 359 013 Adam Beazley, Communications & Campaigns Officer: 020 7627 9155 / 07507 836 708 Notes to editors: The response to the consultation can be found here. The British Beer & Pub Association is the leading body representing Britain’s brewers and pub companies. The Association is more than a century old and was originally founded as the Brewers’ Society in 1904. Our members account for some 90 per cent of beer brewed in Britain today, and own around 20,000 of the nation’s
06 December 2018
The British Beer & Pub Association has today welcomed the extension of funding for the More Than a Pub programme. The new funding will enable more communities across England to take control of their local pub with the support of community business experts the Plunkett Foundation. This funding builds on the current More Than a Pub programme, which is jointly funded by Power to Change and the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government. The programme is led by the Plunkett Foundation in collaboration with Key Fund, Co-operative and Community Finance, The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), Co-operative Mutual Solutions, Pub is the Hub, Locality and the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA). Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “Pubs are at the heart of our communities and play a vital role in our lives. Sadly though, too many are closing their doors for good. The More Than a Pub programme will boost community pubs across the UK and help those where there is the most impact of pub closures. “The pub is far more than just a place to drink and the More Than a Pub programme will also aid the work of other initiatives such as Pub is the Hub to show how valuable our local pubs are.”
06 December 2018
The British Beer & Pub Association has responded to the Department for Health and Social Care consultation on mandatory calorie labelling for the out-of-home sector, including pubs. The BBPA does not support mandatory labelling of calories on menus for pubs, arguing that such measures will be extremely costly, resulting in reduced menu choices for customers and will disproportionately affect smaller pubs that will struggle to implement the proposed changes. Pubs have already taken a variety of voluntary measures to help consumers to make healthy choices. This includes identifying lower calorie options on menus and providing full nutritional information on websites. The BBPA has argued that forcing pubs to display calorie content, rather than doing so on a voluntary basis, will do very little to change consumer behaviour – citing recent studies in the United States and United Kingdom, where mandatory calorie labelling was shown to make no clear difference to calories consumed. In addition to highlighting the limited benefits mandatory calorie labelling would have, the BBPA has also described in its response how smaller pubs would be disproportionately affected by such measures, reducing competition in the sector and potentially undermining local economies. Feedback from BBPA members suggests the cost to determine calorie values for menu items would be far too high for pubs, the vast majority of which operate as small businesses. Licensees and pub operators already face considerable cost pressures elsewhere from beer duty, business rates, VAT and staffing costs, which has seen smaller pubs disproportionately close. Mandatory calorie labelling would only add to this burden and force smaller pubs to reduce their menu choice, further decreasing competitiveness and diversity in the market. The innovative and diverse menus pubs offer make them ideal food venues throughout the year, whether as an indulgent treat, celebration or a social gathering with family or friends. Restricting this offer will be of real detriment to the Great British pub and the communities they serve. However, interventions which result in reduced menu choices will be also be likely to reduce the number of healthy menu options available to consumers. Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “Mandatory calorie labelling will be hugely detrimental for pubs and we would urge DHSC to look at more collaborative ways to work with the sector instead. “Many pubs already voluntarily choose to provide information about the food they serve to help customers seeking to make healthy choices. The overwhelming evidence suggests that forcing pubs to display calorie content would have no tangible impact on behaviour. “Calorie labelling will be prohibitively expensive for the sector, in particular for the vast majority of those pubs which are small businesses. Considering the cost burden pubs already face from beer duty, business rates, VAT and staffing costs, mandatory calorie labelling could be another nail in the coffin for many pubs. “Our great British pubs are iconic and at the heart of communities across the UK. We should be helping, not hindering, pubs. DHSC should consider collaborative ways of working with the sector to help consumers who wish to make healthier food choices. However, should mandatory measures be imposed we would urge exemptions for smaller businesses such as pubs.”  See https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26526247 and https://www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/media/document/862-1-1606_UU_Caloriewise_Report_final_160514_FINAL.pdf  ONS Economics of Ale data