Sales of beer in 2018 were up 2.6% on 2017, according to the latest Beer Barometer sales data from the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA).
The increase marks the biggest year-on-year sales growth of beer in 45 years.
While the on-trade only slightly increased, with a full year sales growth of 0.1%, it was the off-trade that represented the majority, with full year 2018 sales of beer increasing by 4.7% on full year 2017 sales.
In particular, pubs benefited from a strong end to 2018, with beer sales growing by 2.2% in Q4 compared to the same period in 2017. This was the first time Q4 beer sales grew in the on-trade since 2011.
“Last year was a good year for beer and pubs,” says Brigid Simmonds, CEO of the BBPA. “Considering the heavy cost burdens the industry faces from high beer duty, business rates and rising costs in general, it’s great to see beer sales doing the best they have for some years.
“A significant amount of the growth in beer sales in 2018 can be attributed to the England team’s performance at the World Cup and the good weather over the summer months.
“The chancellor’s decision in the 2018 Autumn Budget to freeze beer tax also appears to have had an immediate impact, with sales of beer in pubs growing in the last quarter of 2018 by 2.2%. This shows just how important reducing the beer tax burden is to boosting sales of beer and helping pubs with their footfall.”