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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Jack Hibberd

The latest edition of the long-running Interbrew UK Market Report (formerly the Whitbread Report) shows that two major trends of recent years - the increasing importance of take-home and the decline of multiple specialist and managed pub chains - are showing no signs of slowing down. The take-home sector saw volume sales of beer increase by 3% in 2003 (AC Nielsen MAT to December 2003) compared to a flat performance in the on-trade. Multiple specialists saw volumes drop by 13%, and there was a 15% drop in managed pub chains. The winners once again were the multiple grocers (+7%) and leased pubs (+8%). At the launch of the report, Steve Cahillane, chief executive of Interbrew UK, called for industry unity to tackle the challenges of the year ahead. The need for beer to communicate a better image, growing concern about alcohol-related problems, the implementation of the new licensing laws and the growing burden of red tape were highlighted. On a positive note, Cahillane said that there was less focus on pricing last year during both periods of peak demand - the summer heatwave and Christmas. This demonstrates that beer does not have to be discounted at times of peak demand,' he said. The full report can be accessed online at