Sales of beer in Britain’s pubs, bars and restaurants have fallen by the biggest margin for five years, figures show.
Around 35 million fewer pints were sold in the three months to September compared with the same quarter last year - a fall of 3.6%, said the British Beer and Pub Association.
The organisation warned that pubs will continue to close if the trend continues, blaming “sky high” business rates.
Chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “When the Government was cutting or freezing beer duty from 2013-15, sales of British beer stabilised, after years of steep decline.
“With sales down this quarter, following the Budget tax hike, urgent action from the Chancellor is needed.
“Beer has had a 39% tax rise in the past decade. With tax rates 14 times higher than in Germany, these levels are unsustainable.
“We need fair taxes for British beer, so that brewers and pub operators can invest in thriving pubs, and take advantage of new opportunities to export more beer around the world as we leave the EU.”