Saturday, 5 October 2013


The recent findings by the British Beer and Pub Association(BBPA) on alcohol consumption, has certainly raised some interesting topics of discussion.

There were negatives and positives in the report - with some quite worrying statistics along the way.

The fact that alcohol consumption has dropped to its lowest this century, will no doubt disappoint most beer drinkers. But it was pleasing to hear that there was 165 new breweries in 2012 - raising the number to 1,113 in the UK.

It only confirms the continuing demand for real ale - and for beer drinkers looking for both choice and quality. Let's hope the trend continues, as the beer industry continues to cope with tough economic conditions, and hefty demands on beer duty and VAT.

Beer duty will always be a contentious issue - a prickly subject in the extreme. Yes, it was good news in the last budget, with the scrapping of the beer escalator, and the one pence reduction in duty. But let's be honest, a penny is a paltry figure, when beer duty has risen by a whopping 61% since 2000.

Has the one penny piece of the realm, really made any difference? Be honest, you haven't noticed one bit, have you? 

I was talking to someone in the trade recently, and they have just received their annual 3% increase - which will equate to about 13p at the pump. So, you would probably expect a 10p increase for your pint. 

Unfortunately, the customer is not always sympathetic - and perhaps does not realise how damn difficult it is for landlords to make a decent profit margin. 

So, the next time you notice a five or ten pence rise in the price of your pint - in all probability, the licensee will still be losing out - as he or she continues to fight against tough marketing conditions.

I will conclude with some good news from the BBPA findings. They reported that offence's for being drunk, had fallen by 12% in England and Wales. Perhaps something for Alcohol Concern to comment on. Then again, perhaps not - they only bleat, drone and ramble on about the negatives!