Beer sales have fallen for the eighth year in a row, with 381 million fewer pints being drunk in 2012, according to a new study.
The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said the figures showed how the Government’s “damaging” tax policy was hitting the pub trade.
The association has joined campaign groups in calling for a review of the beer duty escalator, introduced in 2008, which sees tax on beer increase by two per cent above inflation each year.
More than 100,000 people have signed a petition in protest at the extra tax, urging the Chancellor to announce in the March Budget that it will be scrapped.
Pub beer sales slumped by 4.8 per cent in the final quarter of 2012 compared with a year earlier, with total beer sales down by 4.7 per cent over the year. Around 138 million fewer pints of beer were drunk in the final quarter of 2012.
Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the BBPA, said: “These figures show that the Government needs to stop its full-on tax assault on our vital beer and pub industry.”