The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) said the fall was entirely down to less beer being sold in pubs and bars, even though the figures only cover the start of the economic lockdown.
Around 1.5billion pints were sold in the first quarter of the year, the lowest since records began 20 years ago.
The figures for beer sales in the first quarter of 2020 fell to the lowest level since records began, despite the fact lockdown only came into effect in late March
Beer sales have slumped to the lowest level ever recorded, sparking fresh calls for Government help to “get Britain brewing again”.
It means that the Government would need to confirm by June 13 at the latest that pubs will reopen next month.
The trade association called on the Government to give the sector a “definitive pathway” to reopening from July 4, adding that pubs will need a minimum of three weeks’ notice to allow them time to make preparations.
“The cliff-edge impact on our sector, when people were told to stop going to the pub and then when they were shut down, is clear to see.
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA, said: “These stark figures reveal how the lockdown is having a devastating impact on our world-class breweries and pubs.
It’s thought pubs, restaurants and cafes would initially be permitted to serve customers in outdoor spaces. such as gardens or terraces.
News this week that pubs should begin reopening in early July has been well-received by thirsty Brits, who have been deprived since March 20 due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
“Pubs saw a 16.4% drop in beer sales alone for the quarter, driven solely by the sudden closure of pubs and impact of two weeks of zero sales.”
And many have admitted they are currently struggling to keep up with demand ahead of the much hyped re-openings, which could be as soon as July 4.
Now breweries, most of which have seen sales plummet in recent months, are bracing for the upcoming rush by preparing thousands upon thousands of gallons of beer.