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Supermarket beer sales in UK exceed pubs' for first time

Staff Writer |
For the first time people are buying more beer in supermarkets than at pubs, according to data gathered by the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA).

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Britain's 145,000 pubs, clubs, hotels and restaurants sold less beer than supermarkets and off-licenses last year since records began. Sales have shrunk at these outlets by 44% since 1980.

In 2015, 44m hectoliters (7.74bn pints) of beer were sold, 51% was sold in off-trade, which is dominated by large supermarkets and the remaining 49% was sold through pubs, clubs and other licensed premises.

That stood in stark contrast to 2000, when more than two-thirds of beer was drunk in pubs and other on-trade locations, while the figure was almost 80% in 1990.

This trend of buying alcohol in supermarkets has been growing over many years due to pubs' inability to compete with aggressive promotions such as Tesco's "slab" packs containing 18 cans of Stella Artois for £14, equivalent to about £1 a pint and Asda's multipack of 20 Carlsberg cans for £10, equivalent to 65p a pint.

According to the BBPA, the average pub price of a pint of draught lager is in a range between £2.40 and £4.70 - 38% higher than a decade earlier. A pint of bitter has seen similar rises, up from £1.80-£2.56 in 2006 to £2.05-£3.90 this year.

There are other factors influencing the decline in the demand for beers in pubs, such as the rise in popularity of wine and the fluctuating rise in demand for cider and alcopops.

The number of pubs has declined over the years with 50,800 public houses opening last year compared to 58,200 a decade earlier.

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