Thursday, September 01, 2011

Strong Beer to Suffer

Cast your mind back to the Spring Budget, you can't, well you are not the only one. This bit of sneaky taxation had passed me by until a certain Leeds brewery brought my attention to it.

On October 1st there will be an increase in taxation on beers above 7.5%. For those of us who are not accountants, and who is?!, this will lead to a rise of around £10 per barrel in the cost of beers supplied to customers. It is assumed that the price will be passed on to the customer, and then the consumer. So if a usual barrel produces 70 pints, I will leave you to do the maths, but take it from me the drinker will suffer, as usual.

This increase will only affect the stronger beers, but plenty of those brewers in the 'craft' beer market (sorry Elaine!) brew beers of a strength that will fall into that category. It will also hit the foreign bottled beer market apparently. This will obviously impact on the new wave of pubs and bars whose market is primarily based on the stronger, specialist beers, and hit those drinkers who enjoy, sensibly I may add, stronger beer or foreign classics.

Yet another short sighted bit of government legislation that is hitting the wrong people and driving more to the supermarket, away from the pubs and bars just when they are just starting to get their acts together. Thanks a lot Mr Cameron.


Anonymous said...

They must have implemented this at the west riding already, their strong ale prices are just silly!

Anonymous said...

Sorry. Can't get agitated about 14.2p on to a pint of beer above 7.5%. Better than an across the board rise I'm sure you would agree

Jibber said...

I'd much prefer tax on a sliding scale. Hammer the stronger beers; let's face it, nobody really ought to be drinking more than one or two of these in a session, so an extra 14p/28p or so really won't break the bank. But at the same time reduce the tax on beers under, say 3.5% - make it 50p a pint less.

Some of the best beers around are low gravity. Two examples : Mary Jane from Ilkley 3.5%abv, and Endless Summer from Oakham 3.4%abv. Both stunningly packed with flavour.

In the years I've been drinking, alcoholic strength of beer has been creeping up. I remember, as a student in the 70's, being very wary of Taylors Landlord. At 4.3% it was considered to be on the strong side. And yet now 4.3%, 4.5% even 4.8% is considered to be pretty average. 'Strong' is now 5.5%. 5.9% and above.

And of course, as the strength of beers has increased, so has the incidence of alcohol related disease. I do wonder whether there is some sort of correlation there! Isn't it right that those who choose the super strength beers should pay more? If they don't drink a lot of it then it won't make a lot of difference to their bank balances. And if they drink in excess then it will help defray the cost of their potential (and in more cases than perhaps we want to admit, inevitable) hospitalisation.

Perhaps October 1st will be the wake up call that some of us want, and perhaps many of us desperately need. And no, I don't think it's too emotional or dramatic to say that lives could be saved by upping the duty on these ridiculously strong beers.

Udders Orchard said...

Was it not £10 a barrel, as in 36 gallons or 4 firkins (£2.50 a firkin)?

Timbo said...

Dave, you may be right..I was working from information supplied from elsewhere..will try and confirm