Sales of beer are going flat

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SUNDERLAND pubs are feeling the pinch of a further drop in beer sales.

So far this year, beer sales in bars have seen a reduction of 3.8 per cent in comparison to the same period last year.

However, this is an improvement on the decline from 2009/10, which saw a 8.8 per cent fall.

The statistics, published by the British Beer and Pub Association, show that this year’s first quarter is actually the lowest beer sale slump in pubs since 2005. But the worry for landlords is that the figures are still negative.

Matt Alldis, landlord of Fitzgeralds in Sunderland, said: “The drink market is reflecting the economy and atmosphere of the country as a whole at the moment. It is definitely a difficult time.”

Matt says he has noticed a change in spending patterns.

He said: “We’ve seen a shift in the time of the week that people come to the pub. Customers are more sensible when spending their money now. We see more people around the weekend than during the week – more so than ever.

“The quiet times are getting quieter and the busy times are getting busier.”

The British Beer and Pub Association’s quarterly UK Beer Barometer has shown a steady decline in sales since 1997.

A total of 7,039 barrels were sold from January to March in 1997, whereas only 5,315 were sold in the same period this year, meaning first quarter sales have dropped by almost a quarter since 1997.

Matt said: “We could do with help from anywhere. People have less spending cash at the moment, but I’m sure income will go up again when we get out of this recession. We have to get our heads down now and do our best to ride it out.”

Pat Noonan, manager of the Hollymere in Grangetown, said: “We are lucky that we have such a booming trade with our food menu. I really feel for the pubs who aren’t as popular for dining because they are really struggling with the decline in beer sales.

“Not as many people go to the pub just to drink now.”

Dermot Nulty, landlord and owner of T.J. Doyles in Deptford, said: “Literally every day I hear that someone has lost their job. Obviously the first thing to go when you don’t have a job is the treats like having a pint.

“Nobody goes out during the week anymore either.”

@SunderlandEcho