Key Note, in its 2015 sector report, believes the market will see stable if gradual gains in value sales.
The market is estimated to have grown 1.2% in 2014 after a decade of decline. A combination of lower duty rates and the wider economic recovery drove a return to growth in volume beer sales, with noticeable growth in particular at the premium end of the market.
Keynote believes the reduction in duty is the principal driver behind the sector’s return to health. Duty was cut across the board on every category of beer in the two years to March 2015. The cuts ranged between 0.75.% and 6%.
Beer prices fell by an average of 1% across the UK as a result.
Cider, in keeping with other alcoholic drinks, did not fare so well. It saw a 2% above-inflation increase in duty in 2013/14. Its rates were frozen in 2014/15.
A rate reduction for both cider and beer in the current fiscal year bodes well for the future, Keynote believes.
Figures from the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) present a more mixed situation, however.
The BBPA’s quarterly Beer Barometer reports second quarter sales of beer down by 5.6%, with the off-trade down 6.2% and the on-trade 4.9%.