The British Beer & Pub Association’s research said total beer sales were down 5.1% on the first quarter of 2009 and blamed January’s cold snap for the drop.
The BBPA said pub beer sales fell by 8.8% in the quarter.
Brigid Simmonds, chief executive, said: “The Budget in March raised our beer tax bill by a further £161 million. It means over the past two years beer taxes have increased 26% raising costs by £761 million during a time of deep recession.”?She said the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have said beer taxation needs reform.
“As a first step we are looking for the government to abolish the beer tax escalator. Secondly, if it does put up VAT, we are looking for a compensatory reduction in beer tax,” she said.