Tuesday 30 November 2010

Government to increase tax on strong beers

The Nanny State is still there and it did not go away in the General Election.
The responsible drinker is once again seen as the cash-cow of the Government, there to be forcibly milked to fund Clubbers until 3 in the morning.
This time the Government have set their greedy little eyes on increasing duty on beers over 7.5% ABV. Now I doubt if this will effect the Special Brew swigging brigade who inhabit our City Centers but it will hit a small but crucial part of the market - the craft beer scene.
Former Champion Beer of Wales, Otley O8 weighs in at a hefty 8% and is a really powerful, golden hoppy ale. From next year it will be more expensive as we have to fund the bailout to Ireland.
The Tesco American Double IPA, brewed by Brewdog (pictured left) is another fantastic beer. There is a chance that this increase in duty will put off our breweries from producing such innovative and tasty beers in the future. How is that good for the consumer or even for the Government coffers?
This duty raise will also effect imported beers - those wonderful American IPAs and Belgium Trappist beers will become more expensive because of this change in taxation.
As well as the increase in duty, the Treasury have announced a reduced rate of duty for beers below 2.8% ABV. Now I've never tried the Brewdog Nanny State at 1.1% but there were mixed reviews over that.
I have had the misfortune to try Weltons Pride n joy, a 2.8% beer that tasted so bad I, and others thought it was infected at the time. It was not, as lab analysis turned out to reveal but just tasted that bad.
It's all very well announcing a cut in beer duty for beers below 2.8% ABV, but who is going to drink them when they taste so bad?

HM Treasury Alcohol Tax Review is available as a pdf to download here.

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