Beer shunned in favour of wine and spirits
New industry analysis has found that beer sales during the pandemic plummeted as more people drank wine and spirits at home.
The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said that people started drinking at home more during the pandemic as pubs, bars and restaurants had to struggle with changing Covid restrictions.
In 2021, pubs, bars, restaurants and clubs served the equivalent of 1.4 billion pints less, the trade body said.
The industry group also analysed alcohol taxes collected from March 2020, when the first lockdowns started in the UK, to October 2021, when some of the restrictions were relaxed.
It found beer receipts fell by £681m to £5.4bn, while wine receipts increased £583m to £7.7bn and spirits receipts rose £784m to £6.9bn.
According to the associtaion, pubs, bars and restaurants lost £5.7bn of revenue from beer sales in 2021 alone.
The BBPA called on the government to cut beer duty to help it recover from the effects of the pandemic restrictions as well as calling for taxes to be linked to the strength of the alcoholic drink, with lower-alcohol drinks being taxed less.
The Treasury stated that it froze beer duty for a fourth year saving brewers £900m, and that draught relief would see the duty on a pint fall by 5%.
Under the new plans, a pint of 3.4% alcohol beer will attract 25p less in duty and VAT.
A spokesman said the government had “comprehensively backed pubs and brewers alike throughout the pandemic” through the furlough scheme, grants, reduced VAT and business rates relief.
“We welcomed views from the industry on the qualifying criteria for our proposed alcohol duty reforms as part of a consultation process and we’re currently analysing responses”.
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