Britain's pubs sold 57 million less pints in the last quarter amid calls for a freeze on beer tax.

The British Beer & Pub Association's (BBPA) quarterly Beer Barometer reported a 6 percent drop in pub sales based on the same quarter in 2011.

The BBPA, members of which account for 96 percent of beer brewed in the UK, claims the sales drop is evidence of the lasting effects of a cumulitive 42 percent hike in beer taxs since March 2008.

In contrast, off trade sales, or alcohol sales outside of pubs or restaurants, increased by nearly five percent.

"These figures show the chancellor was totally wrong to raise beer tax again in his budget, as this discredited policy continued to hit pubs hard. This key British industry could be an engine of growth for the economy, but poor tax policy is damaging our potential," said Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association.

The tax increase came about via the government's duty escalator police, which annually increases the tax on beer by 2 percent above the rate of inflation.

"The public are getting behind calls for a change in police and signing the e-petition in the thousands. I hope people will continue to respond positively and back a tax freeze and I hope the government will listen."

The BBPa said there was small comfort to be found in the fact that beer sales are falling at a slower rate than over the previous four years. Overall beer sales fell by 1.4 percent in the quarter when compared to last year. Since March 2011, overall beer sales were down by 2.9 percent.

"The public are getting behind calls for a change in police and signing the e-petition in the thousands. I hope people will continue to respond positively and back a tax freeze and I hope the government will listen," Simmonds added.

Prime Minister David Cameron would argue that proposals to set a minimum alcohol price in the UK and crack down on supermarket multi-buy deals, would benefit pubs by beginning to level the playing field on price.

A recent study carried out by Alcohol Concern Cymru saw 77 percent of 600 pub landlords claim they would support an increase in the minimum alcohol price.

There are currently around 60,000 pubs open in the UK, although as many as 50 a week close their doors for good.