Sunday, 21 November 2021

Trouble Brewing

From time to time we need to talk about beer duty, one of the taxes that Her Majesty's Treasury applies to our fun, adding between 20 and 55p to a typical pint. We're happy to pay it, safe in the knowledge that the money raised is used to help fund social necessities such as schools and hospitals, and that the progressive system, introduced 20 years ago, is fair, with the most able (the multinational breweries) contributing the most.

However, as you may have read last year, plans have been drawn up by government to overhaul alcohol duties as a whole, and beer duty in particular. What you won't yet have read about are the implications of these changes, and that's what we need to talk about.

The calculation of beer duty isn't difficult, but it is boring, so I've done it for you. This is what it means for your regular pint, whether that's a beer from a small brewery such as GADDS' Number 5 Best Bitter,  a beer from a medium sized brewery such as Pig's Rump Best, or a beer from a massive multi-national corporation such as Green King Best. 

Small brewery beer duty will rise from around 24 to 27 pence per pint. Taking into account the pub's margin and vat, you'll likely see a rise of 8 pence a pint at the pumps.

Medium sized brewery beer duty will fall from 36 to 31 pence a pint, and you'll see the price at the pump drop by about 14 pence.

And mega-corp beer duty will also fall, from 48 to 45 pence leading to drop at the pumps by around 7 pence.

You'll have noticed that the largest, and the medium sized, brewers are to see a lowering of their duty liabilities, and you'll have noticed too that it's the smallest brewers paying for this. Why would the government do this? I honestly don't know, I've heard all the reasoning and none of it stacks up to scrutiny. Private Eye think they have a clue though:


Private Eye, September 2020


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