The latest British Beer Barometer statistics from the BBPA show that, in 2014, overall UK beer sales rose by 1.3% over the previous year, the first time this has happened for ten years. It also represents a landmark in that the tipping point between on- and off-trade seems to have been finally reached, with the off-trade accounting for 50.2% of sales in the full year and 52.5% in the final quarter. Having said that, the on-trade only fell by 0.8%, a rate of decline that newspaper publishers would kill for. They also make a good point that seven out of ten drinks sold in pubs are beer.
This rise results from a combination of economic recovery and two years with no increase in beer duty. If the duty escalator had still been in force, then a pint in the pub would now be 20-30p dearer and the figures would look much less healthy. No doubt the anti-drink lobby will be spluttering into their sarsaparilla, so watch out for them stepping up calls for further punitive duty increases.