French Brewers Face Big Tax Hike

French president Francois Hollande is pushing for a 160% increase in beer taxes, proposing that the money be used to help fund struggling social programs as France tries to limit its budget deficit.

The tax would affect both French-brewed beers and imports. Imports account for about 30% of French beer consumption.

The measure would result in 20% higher prices in bars and supermarkets, said Jacqueline Lariven, spokeswoman for the French brewer’s federation Brasseurs de France.

”This measure will affect all brewers, including small entrepreneurs,” said Pierre-Olivier Bergeron, head of the Brewers of Europe, in a report from the Associated Press. “‘This is a very shortsighted approach by penalizing one sector.”

The Brewers of Europe, a trade group, called the measure a “kick in the teeth” and complained that beer is ”being singled out” compared to wine. Bergeron said he believes that’s because of the French government’s reluctance to raise the tax on the country’s favorite alcoholic beverage.


  1. liammckenna says

    I wonder what effect this will have on vanloads of beer moving from France to the UK ‘unofficially’?

    It may be good for British Brewers.



  2. dfalken says

    Governments love to tax “bad things” alcohol and cigarettes as these taxes are easier to justify to the population since they are for their “own good”. A tax is a tax and more times than not once government gains new taxation ground it never gives it back. Governments all over the world are running out of control as our global economic system crumbles. They know the pie is getting smaller and they keep trying to take bigger pieces of it for themselves. We the people need to wake up and put a stop to this before we total slaves to government.

  3. nateo says

    160% must be a lot, right? Only if you’re innumerate.

    “According to government estimates, the higher tax will increase the price of a half-pint of ordinary beer by approximately 6 cents. (A half-pint of an average beer at a bar costs about 2.60 euros or $3.40.) But brewery and food industry lobbies say the increase will be considerably more because of a multiplier effect as each step of the distribution chain recalculates its profit margins, reaching 25 cents to 60 cents for the final customer.”

    6 cents on a $3.40 half-pint is a <2% in the cost of a beer. So the actual tax is 6 cents, but that's not scary enough, so people who oppose the tax are saying it's really 60 cents. Based on what, exactly? Everyone exploiting the tax increase to bump up their margins?

    France has nearly the lowest excise taxes for beer in the EU, at 2.75 Euros, times the percentage of alcohol, with reduced rates for small breweries (as low as 1.38 for <10,000hl). A 160% increase in the base rate of 2.75 would be a 1.65 Euro increase, with the excise tax in France still being under Poland, Austria, Italy, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, the UK, and a half dozen others.

    The excise tax in the UK for 4.8%abv beer is 117 Euros per hl, in France, with the increase, it’s 21.12 Euros per hl, or still 1/5 the tax rate of the UK.