Alcohol taxes in the U.K. are being radically modified in the biggest overhaul in more than 140 years.
Beer duties were first introduced in 1643 when a tax was placed on alcohol for the first time to finance the Roundhead armies in the English Civil War against Charles I’s Cavaliers.
The changes will take effect starting in February 2023 and will lower the tax on some alcohol beverages while raising the tax on others. The plan will cut the cost of a range of drinks but increase the duty levied on wine with alcohol content above 11%, such as high-strength ciders and fortified like port and Buckfast. It will also lower the tax paid on draft beer and cider at pubs, cutting the tax on drinks served from pumps by 5%.
The plan was mostly applauded by all sectors of the alcohol beverage industry.
“The Chancellor’s Budget introduced radical changes to the outdated Alcohol Duty system which will benefit brewers of lower strength beers, traditional cask beer and create a more level playing field between small breweries and cider producers,” said James Calder, chief executive of the Society of Independent Brewers “The lower rate of duty for beer sold in pubs is a huge win for the industry and something which SIBA has been campaigning for. We look forward to working with the Treasury as they implement this landmark policy. Whilst hugely beneficial for producers of Real Ale, which is sold in forty liter casks, most craft keg beer in the UK is sold in thirty liter kegs, meaning they cannot benefit. By amending this lower threshold to twenty liters the Treasury can ensure all independent breweries benefit from this welcome new duty relief on draught beer.
More details here.