I have written/ranted here at The Brew Club in the past about UK beer duty and the UK government’s attitude to ‘Binge Drinking’.
Duty on alcohol has been increasing at a rate 2% higher than that of inflation, to which Value Added Tax (VAT) is added at 20% – the culmination of this is that close to a third of the cost of a pint – which recently broke the £3 (or $4.75) a pint mark.
And that’s the national average price – in my local it’s been over £3 for a year or two now.
Something the Chancellor introduced in his last budget was a reduction in duty for beers below 2.8% ABV, and an additional increase in duty for beers over 7.5% ABV. This increase for the stronger beers was intended “to impact on those “super strength” lagers associated with problem drinking.” (The Government’s words – not mine you can read them here).
The downside of this is that it applies to all beers over 7.5%, not just the super strength lagers. This includes premium beers – the Trappist Ales, the Double and Triple Bocks. Let’s put this is perspective, I have never, ever, ever seen a drunk in the street clutching a bottle of Chimay or Duvel!
This insidious new tax comes in for October 1st, so a word of warning to all Brits reading this… if you appreciate the stronger, finer ales, stock up quick!
As for me, I shared my bottle of Duchesse de Bourgogne with some friends a few weeks ago, as it’s my preferred accompaniment to Christmas Pudding I think I’d better get down to my favourite beer monger!
Bob the Brit