Beer sales in UK enjoy biggest growth for 45 years thanks to World Cup and long hot summer

Last year was a bumper one for beer sales (Picture: Getty)

Sales of beer in the UK enjoyed their biggest growth for 45 years in 2018 thanks to the World Cup and the long hot summer.

Beer sales grew by 2.6% last year, marking the biggest year-on-year improvement in almost half a century, the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) said.

The increase was down to the sizzling weather last year and the England football team’s run to the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia.


In supermarkets and convenience stores, beer sales increased by 4.7% from 2017, while pubs saw just 0.1% growth.

The overall increase marked a turnaround from a slow start to 2018, when beer sales were down by 1.7% on 2017 in the first quarter.

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However, the BBPA warned that pubs shouldn’t rely on World Cups for growth as they only happen every four years.

It also said the Chancellor’s decision to freeze beer duty in the most recent Budget led to an increase in sales in the fourth quarter of last year.

England’s World Cup run had a positive impact on beer sales (Picture: PA)

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the BBPA, said: “2018 has been a good year for beer and pubs.

“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.

Beer sales grew by 2.6% in 2018 (Picture: PA)

“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.

“As the UK’s alcoholic drink of choice, which continues to have a much bigger, positive impact on the UK economy than any other drink, it is important that beer continues to do well and that the Chancellor continues to support pubs.”

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