Beer duty to rise 7.5%

Posted by on Mar 23, 2011 in Beer Duty | 3 Comments

How much will these cost in September?

In today’s budget the Chancellor George Osborne announced that beer duty would rise in line with the controversial alcohol duty escalator. “I have no further changes to those measures put in place by the previous government,” he said – retaining the escalator introduced by the previous administration. Roughly speaking, it means duty on beer rises above and with the level of inflation – the figure is currently 2% above – so from midnight on Sunday beer duty will rise by 7.5%.

UK brewers pay an eye-watering rate of taxation on their products compared with their colleagues in Europe – higher even than the Swedish. Since 2008, duty in this country has increased over 33%. Coupled with the increasing costs of raw materials for brewing, labour costs and petrol for deliveries this latest rise is only going to make it harder for British brewers. CAMRA released a Budget response stating that over a £1 of every pub-bought pint goes to the taxman.

In December last year, we discussed the Government’s Review of Alcohol Taxation, where it was revealed that the 2011 budget would potentially see duty cut on beers under 2.8%abv and increased on beers over 7.5%abv. Ostensibly to cut down on ‘problem drinking’ – by raising taxes on a sector that constitutes less than 0.5% of British alcohol sales. This was today introduced into the budget by the Chancellor.

So in September tax on beers over 7.5%abv will go up by a further 25%. Back in our December article we argued that this will have no real impact on ‘problem drinkers’, and that brushing aside the consumers of ‘niche, premium’ products that fall within this category as being ‘not very price sensitive because they already pay a high price’ was insulting.

We are pledging now that for the whole month of September the BeerCast will only feature beer over 7.5%. Hopefully other bloggers will join us, as we give a boozy two-fingers to the taxman.

All in all, not a good day to be a beer drinker (or producer).


  1. scott murray
    March 23, 2011

    Im with you on this, just saw the results. Part of me was just glad they didn’t put any heftier taxation on beer, pubs or brewers that none of them need but still find it unjust that they are continuing to up the tax.

  2. Richard
    March 24, 2011

    It’s only going to get worse before it gets better Scott – the most galling thing (as Pete Brown posted yesterday) is that the Chancellor can say ‘I haven’t made any additional increases in beer duty’ – which is technically true – and people interpret this as beer duty not having changed. Unfortunately the existing duty escalator means it has gone up, and will continue to do so every year…

  3. Paul
    October 15, 2011

    I note they still have a subsidised bar in Westminster. Hypocrites.

Leave a Reply