Beer sales in pubs have continued to fall and were down by almost 50 million pints in the first quarter of the year compared with 12 months ago, new figures have shown.
Beer trade was down by 5.5% in pubs, compared with a 0.1% increase in supermarkets and other stores.
The British Beer & Pub Association said its figures showed the Chancellor was right to cut beer duty in his last Budget and to scrap a beer duty escalator, which had added extra increases since it was introduced in 2008.
Pubs were hit by the long winter as well as a continuing trend for declining beer sales, said the association.
Chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: "The figures show the Chancellor was right to cut beer duty and abolish the escalator, given the huge tax rises in recent years.
"We would hope to see the benefits in second quarter sales, where brewers, pubs and pubgoers will see beer tax rates at nearly 7% cent lower than they were due to be.
"Beer has a very special place in pubs, and accounts for 68% of pub drinks' sales. The duty cut has seen brewers and pub companies passing on the reduction to customers. It will encourage brewers and pubs to invest and create jobs."