The Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS) has reported alcohol sales rose by 1.8% in the last financial year 2007/08, reversing the previous two years' fall in sales. However IAS notes that whilst beer sales have continued to fall, quantities of wine, spirits and cider have continued to rise as off premises sales rose by 2% but pub and other licensed premises sales fell by 7.4%.
A number of trade and industry bodies have been increasingly concerned for the state on pubs and premises and called for action on cheap alcohol sold in supermarkets, though themselves coming under criticism in particular for failure to take full notice of the now rescinded voluntary code on happy hour promotions.
For an IAS report on the use of alcohol as a loss leader see here
To use the IAS UK alcohol data map see here