SMALL BREWERS DUTY RELIEF – THE BIGGER BOYS ARE GANGING UP (AND WE MIGHT LOSE OUR BUSINESS BECAUSE OF IT)
We’ve not said anything about this yet because it’s a complicated issue. If we’re to bring it to the attention of the wider public and engage you, our brilliant and supportive audience, we want to do so in a way that helps you realise why it’s really important to us and so, by extension, to you.
There are a number of links at the bottom of this post that will take you to writing far better than ours (comprehensive, well-researched, in-depth), and if you’ve the time we’d urge you to go a little deeper into it.
For now, here’s a short precis of this situation and, if you value what we at GCB do, if you enjoy the range and number of breweries you have access to in Bristol, and across the country, please:
- sign the petition from London brewery Anspach & Hobday, asking government to reverse the change to SBDR;
- share it across your own social media channels and with beer drinkers, pubs and breweries you love;
- if your favourite small breweries are NOT signatories to the Campaign For Pubs letter below ask them if they know about it and want to be involved;
- and use the templates below to write to your MP. Whether the breweries you like to visit and drink are in the same constituency as you doesn’t matter. It’s still vitally important to get our voices heard, and let the government know this is a bad decision that will have a detrimental effect on businesses, jobs, livelihoods, choice and the beer make-up of this country.
Thank you as ever for your continued support.
Kelly & Bob
In order to balance out the market dominance of the big breweries, in 2002 Gordon Brown brought in Small Brewers Duty Relief to reduce the amount of Duty that small breweries pay. Breweries that produce up to 5,000 hectolitres (hL) of beer per year (nearly 900,000 pints) pay 50% duty. When you go over this, there is a sliding scale until you reach the heady heights of 60,000hL, when you pay the full rate of duty.
On 22nd July the Treasury announced (rather quietly and with little media coverage) a review of the way Small Brewers Duty Relief is applied, which would reduce this 50% rate threshold to 2,100hL– so quite a drop, over half the current volume. This means every small brewery producing between 2,100hL and 5,000hL (there are at least 150 of them, according to SIBA*) will face a tax rise, and the breweries currently producing under 2,100hL (like us) will have to think very carefully before we grow beyond that volume, as we’ll face much higher tax bills.
It’s being pushed through by a coalition of some larger breweries, such as Bath Ales/St Austell, Timothy Taylor’s, Wickwar, Fuller’s and Butcombe. They claim that the smaller breweries have an unfair competitive advantage over the larger regional and national breweries because of this duty relief. Let that sink in a minute. Despite the economies of scale, access to market and, in many cases, large pub estates these big breweries have, they say the Small Brewers Duty Relief we get is unfair.
We’d urge you to read more into this, but if this is enough information for you to take action, THE PETITION is here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/334066
The Campaign For Pubs letter from breweries is here: https://campaignforpubs.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Campaign-for-Pubs-letter-to-Rt-Hon-Rishi-Sunak-re-Small-Brewers-Relief-23rd-July-2020-updated-13th-August-4-min.pdf (and the current (as of 9am 14/08/2020) list of signatories here: https://twitter.com/BeerNouveau/status/1293867996629303296)
A couple of TEMPLATE LETTERS you can use as a basis to write to your MP – please make it as personalised as possible so it isn’t just flagged as a template (talk about the breweries you specifically like, and why you like them, and about pubs you like that support local breweries): https://docs.google.com/document/d/1EqLAbOjFYFiGzvb8sYRDRq4X4Wd7sVDLMCnMwZ_BPfE/edit;
Beer Nouveau has been keeping an excellent record of the progress of this debate, and his most recent blogpost is here: https://beernouveau.co.uk/sbdrc-update/ He links to all his other posts and, if you’ve time, we strongly recommend delving in.
Jonny Garrett has a clearly-written ‘sightlines’ post for Good Beer Hunting here: https://www.goodbeerhunting.com/sightlines/7/23/controversial-tax-hike-hits-small-uk-brewers-while-regional-breweries-claim-victory
And Bristol-based beer and pub writers (and Drapers regulars!) Boak & Bailey have outlined their thoughts here: https://boakandbailey.com/2020/07/small-brewers-relief-why-tinker-with-it-now/
*SIBA – Society of Independent Brewers: https://www.siba.co.uk/sbr/
(Please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org if any links don’t seem to be working – cheers)