Beer sales fall flat

Cash-strapped consumers shunning bars, pubs and restaurants has led to beer sales across West Europe falling by more than four per cent in the first half of 2009 – the equivalent of 580 million litres, or more than a billion less UK pints of beer – according to leading beverage research agency Canadean’s Quarterly Beverage Tracker.

Alcoholic drinks, as a whole, did not fare much better, while soft and dairy drinks slipped by around one per cent. Hot drinks registered a very small rise and overall commercial beverage consumption declined by a little over one per cent.

Soft drinks volumes held up relatively well, falling by just one per cent on the same period in 2008, while hot drink sales edged up by just under 0.5 per cent. According to Canadean, private label is outperforming branded beverages in every European market except Belgium, Finland, Sweden and Greece.

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