The haze of a long, hot World Cup summer drove British drinkers to buy more beer in the third quarter than the year before for the first time in more than 15 years.
UK pubs saw beer sales grow 0.9 per cent year on year from August to October, with around 941.5m pints changing hands over the bar, or 3.27m barrels of beer.
Sales overall were up 4.4 per cent on the same period last year, to 7.1m barrels, according to figures from the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA).
Meanwhile in the off-trade sector, sales in supermarkets and off-licences went up 7.6 per cent, the highest rise since 2015, with 3.8m barrels sold.
But the association, whose members account for around 90 per cent of the beer brewed in the UK, warned pubs against a false sense of security.
Brigid Simmonds, BBPA chief executive, said that while a freeze in beer tax and lower business rates for pubs had made “a huge difference to the viability of the sector moving forward”, Brexit continued to loom large, already causing customers to tighten their purse strings.
Clarity on the nature of the Brexit deal moving into the transition period next year would be “a boost to the trade and beer sales,” she said.
Chief executive of trade body UK Hospitality Kate Nicholls said the industry enjoyed a “welcome boost off the back of a World Cup feelgood factor and prolonged warm weather”.
“The experience of cheering on a winning England team in the pub is hard to beat,” she said.
But she urged the government to do more to help the sector, singling out rising labour costs after Brexit as an issue which could hurt pubs in future.
There is “a desperate need for certainty when it comes to a workable post-Brexit immigration system, otherwise the customer experience will no doubt suffer through higher prices and reduced service levels,” she said.