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Beer duty: the facts, presented handily

Not going to go on about this again but I just received a very useful press release from the BBPA. The trade body is calling for a ‘return to clarity’ over beer taxation, noting as I did yesterday that with an ‘escalator’ in place, announcing ‘no new taxes’ is wilfully misleading.

There were a few questions and comments after my post yesterday about how all the various figures and calculations around the swingeing duty increase add up, so I thought it would be useful to share the following table for the release.

Predicted increase in tax of a typical pub pint
Average new price of a pub pint of lager (4.2 per cent abv)
New typical duty on a pub pint of lager
New typical VAT on a pub pint of lager
Combined VAT and duty increase this year
Beer Tax increase since March 2008
British Beer Tax, times higher than France
British Beer Tax, times higher than Germany
British Beer Tax, times higher than Spain

The release also contains one crucially important piece of information, which I urge you to share with everyone you know, especially your MP: with the 7.2% rise yesterday compounded by the 2.5% rise in VAT in January, 2011 has already seen the highest EVER increase in tax and duty on beer in any single year.




I agree it's awful and think beer tax is an obscenity but leave the insulting politics references out.

I think it's further nail in the coffin of many marginal pubs and the ability of the working man to get a local pint of draft beer.

However please…. It's beer.

You think George Osborne (referred to as Gideon by name callers) is worse than someone [Darling] who served in a Govt that stigmatised asylum seekers? interned children? wanted to intern people for 90 days? had bigots for immigration and equalities ministries? supported rendition and torture? whose MPs mock opponents with Cerebal Palsy? Wankerdom is judged in levels of beer tax? Darling may be the only person I respect in that Govt but he served with the scum of the earth.

Neil, Eating Isnt Cheating

Did you see my Tweet earlier about the metro printing an article entitled 'Nothing for drinkers to cheer about'?

I @ mentioned you and Hardknott Dave in it.

Refreshing to see a news outlet actually getting to the facts through all the government bullshit. I was so dissapointed to see you say yesterday that the BBC missed the point. Journalists frequently avoid the small print which is disapointing.

Although the metro didnt get it all right. I work in insurance and was annoyed by the fact they had printed 'house insurance to rise because of new insurance premium tax'. Which implies there is a new 'premium' tax on insurance. In fact, 'insurance premium tax' has always existed and is very similar to VAT, but applied to insurance premiums. It's now gone up from 5% to 6% on any insurance policy. Misleading journalism does my head in!

red dave

What is the most regressive tax? The tax that most hits poor people in comparison to rich people.

My guess is its a fight between taxes on beer, tobacco and the 50% vig on the lottery.

Taxing beer is one of the great ways to take money from poor people so that you can give it to rich people.


Tobacco duty is undoubtedly the most regressive tax – not only is it far higher as a percentage of the base price than alcohol duties, but tobacco is disproportionately consumed by lower socio-economic groups, whereas if anything the better off drink more booze.

Neil, Eating Isnt Cheating

I only just noticed this, but in your header it says 'treating beer with the resepct and irreverence it deserves since 2003'.

Shouldn't this say 'reverence'?

Because to treat with irreverence means to treat with a lack of respect, or literally, without reverence.

Pete Brown

Not at all Neil – respect and irreverence are the twin pillars of my approach to beer.

I want beer to be treated with more respect. I want to help educate people, to open their eyes to how great beer can be, how diverse it is. And it frustrates me to see beer dismissed, as a whole, as being somehow inferior to wine.

But irreverence is the other side of it. The reason I write about beer rather than anything else is that beer is a laugh. It doesn't take itself too seriously. The beer drinking moment is democratic, unpretentious, a great leveller. It can never be as snobbish and elitist as wine, and that's why I love it.

And I don't see any conflict between those two positions.

Ron Pattinson

"the highest EVER increase in tax and duty on beer in any single year."

About 10% in total, isn't it?

I'll think you'll find that there have been far worse years tax-wise:

This is tax per standard barrel:

1914 7s 4d
1915 9s 1d
1916 21s

1919 21s 10d
1920 40s 8d
1921 71s 6d
1922 80s 9d

1940 59s 3d
1941 101s 10d
1942 105s 4d
1943 143s 1d
1944 172s 8d

1915 to 1916 is the biggest percentage increase. I make it 131%.

HardKnott Dave

You know, ever since I saw that "irreverence" word on this blog it's bugged me. I kept meaning to ask you what you meant. Glad that's sorted.


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