Tuesday 25 January 2011

More sobering statistics

According to the most recent figures produced by the British Beer & Pub Association, total UK on-trade beer sales in 2010 were 14.2 million bulk barrels. This represents a decline of over 44% since in 1997, when the corresponding figure was 25.6 million barrels – and indeed a fall of over 60% since the 37 million barrel high point of the on-trade in 1979.

There hasn’t been a single quarter since 1997 when on-trade beer sales have shown a year-on-year rise. The biggest single year-on-year fall was 10.6% between the second quarters of 2007 and 2008, the first full year of the operation of the smoking ban. Between 1997 and 2007, the average annual decline was 3.5%. Over the past three years, that has accelerated to 7.3%. 2010 was 7.5% lower than 2009.

So, apologies to the Pollyannas of the beer world, but there’s precious little light at the end of the tunnel visible for pubs there. If the recent trends continue, in five years’ time the on-trade will be down below 10 million barrels a year.


  1. What is the date the last pub shuts? I need to know, so I can have a final weekend of robbing glasses, bar towels, beer mats and anything not nailed down.

  2. Cookie - if the rate of decline shown in the sidebar continues (7166 pubs over 43 months), the last pub will close in approximately February 2037. I might be dead by then, of course :-(

  3. I'm interested to know how Government tax and duty has fared over the years despite the falling barrelage sales.
    Add taxes from the supermarket offsales and I'm sure it's the publicans and their customers who are the big losers rather than Government.
    Do they care?

  4. Blimey! Those are some pretty grim stats!

    Do they look into the total numbers of people drinking, like with smokers, or is the focus just on people who do their drinking in pubs?

    I imagine the more general numbers regarding people consuming alcohol aren't down by anything like the same rate. In fact, I'm almost certain that those figures are climbing.

    So where are these vast numbers of people doing all their drinking these days?

  5. It's the total amount of beer sold in the on-trade. If you follow the link and download the table it also shows the total sold in the off-trade.

    I think off the top of my head there has been a small increase in the proportion of the population who don't drink at all, but what these stats show is that, on average, folks are certainly drinking less beer, especially in pubs.

  6. BUT does it show that the Government has lost out on taxes?
    I've certainly lost out on pleasure 'cos I don't drink at home (UNLESS YOU ALL COME ROUND FOR A BIT OF A DO)


Comments, especially on older posts, may require prior approval by the blog owner. See here for details of my comment policy.

Please register an account to comment. Unregistered comments will generally be rejected unless I recognise the author. If you want to comment using an unregistered ID, you will need to tell me something about yourself.