Brits continuing to drink less beer: report

Adventurous palates are driving more drinkers in the UK away from beer as sales continued a downward trend in the first three months of the year.

A report released Thursday by the British Beer & Pub Association found that total overall beer sales declined 3.8 percent in the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period in 2010 when sales fell 8.8 percent.

Sales of beer in pubs and supermarkets also fell by the 3.8 percent this quarter.

Meanwhile, according to stats from the International Wine & Spirit Research, wine consumption in the UK has been steadily growing over the years.

In 2004, the average Brit drank 27 liters of wine per capita. That's expected to grow to 28.6 liters this year.

Overall sales of beer in 2010 saw a decline of 3.9 percent.

A report released by the same group last month also said that pubs in the UK were closing at a rate of 25 a week, and that 13,000 jobs were lost in 2010.

While the warmer weather and extended pub hours for the royal wedding are expected to drive up consumption in this quarter, a new alcohol tax that went into effect at the end of March could also put a damper on beer sales.

The new tax adds 4p (€0.05) to the price of a pint of beer, 15p (€0.17) to the price of a bottle of wine, and 54p (€0.60) to the price of a bottle of spirits.

On October 1, the government will add an additional 25 percent hike on "high-strength" beers over 7.5 percent in alcohol content, or 25p (€0.28) to the price of a can of "super strength" lager.

The British Beer & Pub Association represents 96 percent of the beer brewed in the UK.

 

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