Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Beer sales fall by 8%

Beer sales fell more than 8% in the first three months of the year compared with 2008. The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) said 1.7 million fewer pints were drunk every day from January to March than in the same period last year. Find more details and an on-line poll at: Are You Drinking Less In The Recession?


  1. What did the BBPA expect? 2000 pubs have closed and so have many restaurants. The credit crunch is taking its toll. With fewer outlets you get fewer sales and with the prevailing economic situation, people are doing what they always do in such circumstances, they’re holding onto their hard earned cash.

    Of course if the BBPA and the PubCon’s did us all a favour and broke the tie, then a lot of pubs would be free to buy their beer from anywhere they liked, competition would return to the industry and maybe the customer would be tempted back
    Perhaps CAMRA should stop supporting the ridiculous axe the tax campaign and start supporting the Fair Pint campaign instead? But that won’t happen will it? BBPA, PubCon, CAMRA, it’s becoming difficult to tell one from the other.

    One good bit of good news is that supermarkets have been hit hard. So, every cloud and all that.

  2. I'm not sure why the Axe the Beer Tax Campaign is ridiculous, as tax is definitely one factor that is pushing up beer prices, but I don't know anyone who thinks it is the only factor.

    The Fair Pint Campaign advocates removing the tie from all leased pubs (except those tied to brewers who own up to 500 pubs). A recent issue of What's Brewing, the CAMRA newspaper, stated: "CAMRA could be set to use its super-complainant status for the first time in a bid to get the Office of Fair Trading to look into the beer tie. The Campaign is now considering whether to enter into talks with the OFT after being requested to use its special status by chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group John Grogan MP."

    It looks like CAMRA is already doing what you suggest.

  3. "Could be", "considering". Not exactly definitive statements are they.

    For reasons why the axe the tax is ridiculous see the link http://notjusthereforthebeer.blogspot.com/2009/04/for-whom-beer-bell-tolls.html

    But if your right and CAMRA is about to support the Fair Pint campaign, maybe there's hope for them yet. I am still sceptical of course and suspect that if they do, it's not out of choice but more out of the desire not to look out of step with the views of lessees and the general public. Personally I, like a lot of non-CAMRA affiliated bloggers, feel CAMRA is far too close to the PubCon’s, so I will always have suspicions about their motives until they distance themselves from the likes of Enterprise, Punch and Wetherspoons.


  4. Well a bit of CAMRA bashing always helps according to some RedNev. I agree with Dave's assessment about the BBPA and about the PubCo's. Ive been moaning about them since I started this blog more or less. (Punch was the subject of the 2nd ever post on my blog in 2007.
    See this too for an example a year ago. http://tinyurl.com/cr9cdz

    As for CAMRA, I agree it needs to get off the fence on this one and finally it may well be. Better late than never, though it should have been shouting about these excesses long ago imo. As should everyone.

    Another though, The Fair Pint Campaign must be doing a good job, if the BBPA are slagging it off and blaming all ills on it.

  5. I meant to add that you can't really compare owning 800 or so pubs like JDW do with owning 8000+ or 4000+ in the case of the PubCos.

  6. Like Tandleman, I am a CAMRA member, but belonging to a campaign doesn't mean you believe everything it says and does is perfect. Far from it. For example, I wasn't happy when they set up the CAMRA investment club - if that bunch of people want to invest in PubCos and the like, fine, but using the name CAMRA implies a conflict of interests.

    I agree with what the Fair Pint Campaign stands for, and I suspect that's true of a lot of CAMRA members. My own view is that the decline in pub-going is due to many factors (in no particular order): tax, the tie, the recession, bad marketing by the industry, news reports of alcohol-fuelled mayhem and violence, lack of suitable transport (I agree with drink-driving laws, but rural pubs can be badly hit), etc., etc. As there is no single cause, there can be no single solution either. I don't claim any of this as an original insight; in fact, I think I'm stating the obvious. So I hope CAMRA does demand that the OFT review the tie.

  7. Notjusthereforthebeer: I've just read 'For Whom The Bell Tolls' on your blog, and apart from the gratuitous stereotyping in the style of Stephen Oliver, I don't find much to disagree with. But I also don't see where it proves Axe The Beer Tax is ridiculous. As I said, the problem is complex and no single solution will remedy it. Neither will it be remedied when campaigners indulge in internecine war. Or are we in the world of the People's Front of Judaea versus the Judaean People's Front?

    Interestingly, I noticed you don't approve of the CAMRA investment club either!

  8. It's hard to tell as it goes off at a tangent, but I think the idea is that the Axe The Tax campaign is ridiculous because it's daft to expect a reduction. Which is daft itself. As we all know, there are many reasons for pubs struggling but are punters interested in the tie etc? Ask them (and I agree) that tax is a major, if not the major, factor. That's why ATT is a very important campaign.

  9. Splitters! Rednev: Since I’m not a member of CAMRA and never will be I can’t be accused of splitting. Besides, I always preferred The Movement for a Free Galilee. “We were here first.”

    As far as stereotyping goes; guilty as charged. But then CAMRA and it’s members are hardly whiter than white on this issue.

    In regards to ATT, I do think it was daft to expect the Thunderbird puppet to reduce the tax and I don’t think it was daft to say so. It was a very cynical campaign designed to deflect attention away from the PubCon’s and onto the government.

    As for my article going off at a tangent, oh well, I’ll try harder next time or maybe I won’t, it all depends on what I’ve been drinking (hic).

    In regard to the investment club, as an outsider looking in, the investment club looks like a very big case of CAMRA shooting itself in the foot.

    Right I’m off down the pub or am I coming back from the pub? It’s all very confusing.


  10. I'm still not seeing very much disagreement, perhaps because I know that CAMRA isn't the one-solution campaign that Notjust... implies; every CAMRA member I know is aware of the damaging effects of predatory PubCos. Those who don't know this must have their heads in the sand, because it's blindingly obvious. Excess tax and rapacious PubCos are both major causes of pubs' problems; both therefore need to be addressed. As for the argument that a tax cut campaign can never work, popular protest got rid of the petrol escalator a few years ago.


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