Saturday, 7 May 2016

Tapping the glass

The British Beer and Pub Association have just released their latest British Beer Barometer statistics covering the first quarter of 2016. As very often in their publicity, they concentrate on the perhaps misleading quarter-on-quarter figures rather than the more meaningful annualised ones. The link to download the table is missing from the press release, but can be found here.

Looking at the annual figures, year-on-year on-trade sales show a 2.4% decline, a better figure than in most recent years, but still indicative of a long-term downward trend. Compared with ten years ago, on-trade sales are down by 36%, whereas off-trade sales have fallen by only 2%. I wonder what might have happened in the early part of that period to encourage that trend.

Off-trade sales are also now 6% above the on-trade, suggesting that particular tipping point is long gone.

28 comments:

  1. 2007 ? No doesn't ring a bell. New Wembley ? First craft beers ?

    36% reduction in consumption in pubs but doubling of breweries (at a guess), so all good. All we need, as stated here hundreds of time, is for pubs to double the number of pumps they carry :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. on-trade sales are down by 36%

    You piss off a 1/3 of your customers (and the ratio of smokers was always higher among pub regulars), you tell a 1/3 of your customers you don't want their custom, you expect a 1/3 of your customers to spend more time outside in the great British weather then fucking Wurzel Gummidge and then you wonder why they no longer want to buy your beer?

    Actually I'd guess that the Pissed Off customers quotient is near to a half than a third so the downward slide will continue a ways yet...until all those thousands and thousands of new non-smoking drinking new customers come along (don't hold your breath, guys). You wanted their custom, you didn't want mine and that of my community. That's fair enough, your gaff, your rules BUT do not cry about sales dropping by a third +. You made your bed, lie in it until the bailiff slaps a sticker on it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jack - I'm one of the 2/3 of customers who don't smoke but were pissed off that smokers, always the ones who gave the pub character (and other benefits !) got kicked out of the pub (and they're coming for them in the gardens now).Next to no-one has come in to take their place.

      Delete
    2. "I'm one of the 2/3 of customers who don't smoke" as is The Mudge himself...and if he wasn't, if you were a smoker, then I probably wouldn't read his blog, your tweets etc.

      I have little time for smokers who still visit pubs. Well actually that's not quite true , I enjoy -for example- Frank Davis' blog, but the bottom line is if you are a smoker and you visit pubs then every time you do you are bending over the bar begging the government/A⚡H to arse rape you some more. Every time a pub goer goes outside for a smoke they are selling themselves and me short. Grab a slab of wife beater and stay home, matey. Don't stand outside in the rain hoping the government will respect you in the morning, they won't. Like the fresh chicken on the wing everytime you get up to go outside you're getting up with a wad of toilet tissue shoved where the sun don't shine to stop the bleeding.

      Same reason why every New Years I swear to myself that I shall, this year, not buy a single pack of "yUK Duty Paid" smokes in this Cuntry. I refuse to pay for my own persecution, do I look Jewish? Of course I do end up , on average, having to buy around a carton of smokes a year here but as a 3 pack a day man I can live with that relatively low "failure rate".

      *stops writing as the red mist descends...and as a heavy smoker I have to keep calm or risk an aneurysm*

      Delete
  3. What happened in the early part of that period? Was there a ruthless special offer by evil Tesco on cans on Smooth Bitter?

    Can't be the smoking ban as the beards said it was a good thing that would drag loads into pubs

    ReplyDelete
  4. Good comments Jack and Martin. We smokers are never going to be replaced by all the new non smokers because they never went to pubs anyway. As Martin says all the characters were smokers. Everywhere you go are empty closed pubs.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Had to drive to pick up Aged Mother this afternoon. Aged Mother lives in rural Norfolk village best described as 'Upper Nosebleed' or 'Midsomer' (Because there is not a single person of colour resident there). Village is built round a green and has supported, on the green, two pubs since as far back as anyone can remember (and in Norfolk they still talk about the last witch burning like it happened within living memory)...probably right back to the Middle Ages when the village won the right to hold an annual fair on the green. Of course the ancient "Yellow Leopard" closed a year or so ago and is now flats. The surviving pub, whose name 'The Picannies' tells you how old it is, has- so I saw outside, converted the front beer garden overlooking the green into a space to put all the advertising signs...all the signs advertising all the services they now offer. SKy Sports of course, Curry Night, Quiz, Off Site sales of beer, wine, soft drinks and cigarettes.

    Surrounded by this veritable sea of signs sat a 3 some drinking beer , the rest of garden looked empty. 20-whatever degrees sunshine, and 3 old boys sipping their ale hidden by clapp boards. All the guardian reading tofu sucking cyclistas just biking by- all dreaming of thai lemon grassed infused water at the nearest bar-rista.

    Long and short, I give the The Little Darkies pub about another year....god knows how many times it has shut and reopened since 07 (when the then landlord told me the Smoking ban wouldn't cut his trade, oh no!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At least Aldborough isn't the middle class hell that is now the Burnhams or Brancaster

      Delete
  6. @Martin Taylor, your knowledge of English pubs is truly impressive, nay encyclopedic! Although I would contend Aldborough is very middle class, at least in the original village. The lower orders live in the housing estate out of sight. No idea what a cottage on The Green goes for these days but judging by the fact that there always seems to be a Waitrose van parked somewhere around it...(the village shop shut a couple of months back).

    ReplyDelete
  7. Talk about making up numbers to fit your pre-existing prejudices. If you look at the figures produce by the ONS, nothing of note happened in 2007 whatsoever. The on-site beer sales is pretty much a perfectly straight line from the 90s through to 2012. There is zero evidence that the smoking ban had any effect at all.

    The biggest difference is that whereas 64% of 16-24 year olds drank alcohol at least once a week in 2005, only 50% did in 2012. If you think that's to do with the smoking ban, you're off your rocker.

    Let me guess, the ONS are making up the figures and its all a big conspiracy theory.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OK, in the three years between 2007 and 2010, taking July-June figures, the annual fall in on-trade beer sales was, respectively, 8.0%, 6.9% and 5.5%. A decline of almost a fifth in three years. The average for the previous nine years was 2.8%. That looks rather significant to me.

      Every single knowledgeable commentator about the pub trade accepts that the smoking ban had a significant negative effect on trade, especially in working-class, wet-led boozers. If you think they're all wrong, then it's a case of "everyone's out of step but our PY".

      For example, I've quoted Mark Daniels, who was far frm a diehard ban opponent, as saying: “The smoking ban has certainly caused most pubs, especially those that were traditional drinking outlets (like mine, for example), a lot of pain - and it has caused a lot to close, too. To say it hasn't is, frankly, ridiculous and shows a severe lack of knowledge of the problems the pub trade is facing right now.”

      More evidence, I'm afraid, of you inhabiting some kind of weird alternative beery universe.

      And, if young people drinking less is a factor, then why doesn't it show up in the off-trade figures?

      Incidentally, you still haven't given us any examples of the working-class inner-city pubs you claim to use regularly.

      Delete
    2. Opinions are opinions and everyone is welcome to them. The facts say otherwise. On-trade alcohol sales have fallen steadily and consistently every year since the turn of the century. There is no "blip" in 2007 - if there is anything of relevance around that period, it is the drop caused by the recession in 2008.

      If there was anything at all to this smoking ban theory, it would show up in the data. But it doesn't - and I'm sure that as a rational man, if you were to look at the graph with an unbiased viewpoint, you would agree.

      Delete
  8. others come up with a differing exegesis of the ONS stats: http://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/Operators/Other-operators/Pub-alcohol-sales-ONS-report

    (PY,I'm sure you know that article already, just linking for anyone passing).

    ReplyDelete
  9. Here are the BBPA's figures, aggregated into five-year periods.
    2000-5: on sales down 11.8%, off sales up 24.7%, overall sales flat.
    2005-10: on sales down 26%, off sales flat, overall sales down 15.5%.
    2010-15: on sales down 14.7%, off sales down 2.3%, overall sales down 8.8%.

    Looking at 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 in more detail:
    On sales: -3.6%, -4.9%, -8.1%, -6.6%, -5.9%
    Off sales: +2.7%, -0.8%, +2.3%, -4.7%, +0.9%
    Total: -1.1%, -3.2%, -3.7%, -5.7%, -2.8%

    Apart from the three years after the smoking ban there's no year in which on sales fall by more than 5%.

    In any case, the contrast with the ONS figures is much less stark than py is suggesting. On sales trends for 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010: -6.8%, -10.3%, -11.9%, +1.4%, -8.0%, for a total 5-year drop of 31.4% or an annual average of 6.2%. The average for the previous four years was 4.6%. It's true that the ONS shows on-trade consumption falling more steeply between 2001 and 2006 than the BBPA figures deo. But it's still noticeable that the single biggest falls are between 2006 and 2007, and between 2007 and 2008; those are the only periods in which self-reported on-trade beer drinking falls by more than 10%.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We're seeing 3 things:

      a long term decline in alcohol consumption as the new generation of 16-24 year olds are increasingly worried about their health

      a long-term switch from on-sales to off-sales, partly for cost reasons, partly because of improved home entertainment etc

      the effects of the recession in late 2007/early 2008, which affected every industry, not just pubs.

      Delete
    2. Useful analysis, Phil.

      It's also worth noting that the 8.0% year-on-year decline between June 2007 and June 2008 is the largest of all 17 years in that series, and that is before the recession really kicked in in 2008.

      The bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, which is generally regarded as the defining moment of the financial crisis, occurred in September 2008.

      Delete
    3. Defining moment in the US perhaps, but in the UK the key moment was when Northern Rock went bust in September 2007.

      You can't just try to ignore these facts because they don't support your preferred narrative. It makes you look every bit as loopy as the neo-prohibitionists.

      I don't have a horse in this race, I'm just trying to point out how your arguments look to rational outsiders when you conveniently "forget" the recession.

      Delete
  10. Stats here, stats there, the very fact we are having this discussion kinda proves the point. Even if PY was right (in what universe?) he confirms that there hasn't been the tidal wave of non-smoking custom the landlords were betting their livelihoods on.

    Back in 07 those smokers with principals said, as I and countless others did' "See you down the Job Centre Mr.Landlord." and simply stopped going. Other smokers, however, didn't seem to mind the insult as much and have kept on visiting pubs...slowly drinking less and less as it all got to be 'too much fun'. Slowly but surely, having to ring a bell and shout 'Leper coming through. UNCLEAN' everytime they wanted to go outside and have a smoke began to wear on the nerves.

    "a long-term switch from on-sales to off-sales, partly for cost reasons, partly because of improved home entertainment etc" -and partly because of ordering a slab off tesco and having a 'Smokey Drinky' at home and leaving the water drinking lemon suckers to enjoy the aroma from the toilets wafting up to th ebar while they fiddle with their Kindles.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Lies, damned lies... and statistics.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Correlation is not causality. That pub custom has declined at the time of the smoking ban does not prove it was due to the smoking ban. It was all the fault of irresponsible supermarkets and their cheap slabs of beer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As far back as i can recall it was always cheaper to buy beer at the supermarket/off licence/booze cruise/home brew. Indeed back in the 80s I can recall the Licensed Victuallers lobbying for the taxing of home brew.

      Delete
    2. The CAMRA truth is available to read here from Mudgingtons OT magazine. Ignore the blog, just the picture of the CAMRA article.

      http://velvetgloveironfist.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/camra-still-ignoring-elephant-in-pub.html

      Banning smoking boosted pubs!

      Delete
    3. That's a different "Opening Times". I'm sure our editor wouldn't have published such guff, and if he had I would have severely taken him to task over it!

      Delete
  13. Damn right he wouldn't. Don't get involved in s*****g b*n debates (life's too short but for the record I'm pretty much agnostic on the issue) but was never convinced by the "hordes of non-smoking pub goers waiting in the wings" line.

    ReplyDelete
  14. A bit of historical revisionism?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No - that's always been my view.

      Delete
    2. That's up to you. Must say you're starting to live up to the "Bell End" bit of your pseudonym.

      Delete

Comments, especially on older posts, may be subject to prior approval. Bear with me – I may be in the pub.

Please be polite and remember to play the ball, not the man.

Any obvious trolling, offensive or blatantly off-topic comments will be deleted.

See this post for some thoughts on my approach to blog comments. The comment facility is not provided as a platform for personal attacks on the blog author.