Today the government released their 'Review of Alcohol Taxation' and after consultation with the companies listed at the bottom of the linked document their proposal to encourage responsible drinking & to tackle 'problem products' that cause social problems & place pressure on the NHS is to put a premium rate of beer duty on any beer at 7.5%abv. or above & to lower tax on beer at 2.8%abv. or below.
Firstly to to the lower end of the spectrum, beers at 2.8% or below? Are you serious? I can only conclude that this is a token gesture to sweeten the bitter pill of a premium tax rate for 7.5%abv.plus beer. I cannot name one single product that is currently on the market that fits this bracket & don't expect a rush of brewers clambering to fill this niche! It is of little consequence to microbreweries in the UK anyway as we cannot claim this relief if we are already on SBR (Small Brewers Relief).
Onto the higher taxation for 7.5% & above beers, now lets get this straight the proposed rises in tax have singled out 'strong beer' for special attention, from this point the logic of the proposed changes collapses. Cider has been largely overlooked with just an introduction of a minimum juice content to help push the price of 'industrial cider' up. Whilst beer has been singled out as the 'bad boy', so naturally lets look at the problem beers in the UK above 7.5%abv. that are causing social meltdown... I can name but one... 'Special Brew' so according to government policy makers this beer is single-handedly causing the majority of alcohol fuelled social problems in the UK... Really?? Give me a break, apart from a smattering of permanently inebriated drunks on park benches 'Special Brews' in brown paper bags is hardly the single biggest blight of modern Britain! Those who buy it do so because it is a relatively cheap way of buying as many alcohol units as possible.
So to you, the craft beer lover, the connoisseur, you pay your taxes, you cause no social nuisance, no strain on police nor on NHS resources, but you regardless of the reasons you enjoy strong craft beers YOU will be penalised as what you enjoy the government classes a 'problem drink' & what I hear you ask is your crime??
You have taste!
Welcome to modern Britain!