Back our Brewers!
The UK Government has announced that it intends to change the threshold at which Small Brewers Relief starts to taper, from 5000hL to 2100hL. This is devastating news for some small brewers.
Small Brewers Relief was introduced to encourage brewing and has helped to create the vibrant UK beer scene that we know now, with local beers from independent breweries joining national and regional brands on the bar.
A body blow for small brewers already facing the challenge of Covid
For the UK Government to have announced this now, when these same breweries have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, is staggering. The announcement comes at a time when most small independent breweries have already missed out on Government support made available to other sections of the hospitality industry, in the way of cash grants or a business rates holiday.
The UK Government appears to have capitulated to lobbying from a small number of medium sized and larger breweries, who wish to protect their businesses from open competition and reduce the tax burden on their companies by increasing it on others.
Back Small Brewers – Protect our Brewing Revolution!
Small Brewers Relief has been a key factor in the number of small breweries and microbreweries that have emerged in recent years, giving us the amazing array of beer and local breweries all over the country. This announcement by the Government will stop this amazing brewing revolution – and if it goes ahead will see fewer breweries and less choice.
Bad for smaller brewers – bad for publicans, pubs and pub customers
Small Brewers Relief has also led to pubs being able to buy and offer a far greater choice, including from distinctive local breweries, which enhances the pub experience for regular customers, visitors and tourists – who quite rightly and reasonably expect to be able to sample local independent produce when they visit a characterful local pub run by a local business.
Many pubs remain tied to restrictive contractual agreements which limit their access to these independent beers. It is a mark of how important that choice of a small independent brewery beer is to the customer, that those pubs are prepared to pay a premium to their controlling pub company or pub-owning brewery in order to feature them – but they should be allowed to buy them direct and at a fair price for pub and brewer.
If pubs themselves are to survive the long forthcoming period of recovery then they will be helped on the way by greater diversity on the bar, not less.
So the wonderful brewing scene we have – and choice for beer loves, publicans and pub customers is at stake.
We are therefore asking all brewers, publicans who want a great choice, beer lovers and pub customers to do three easy things to #BackOurBrewers and beer choice:
- Sign the #BackourBrewers petition here
- Write to your MP. There is a template email/letter you can download here (RTF document) and if you are not sure who your MP is, then you can check here.
- If you are on social media, tweet this graphic saying you call upon the Government/Chancellor Rishi Sunak to think again and #BackOurBrewers.
Sign the petition! – Back our Brewers
A petition supporting the UK’s small brewers and opposing damaging change to Small Brewers Relief:
I and we oppose the proposed change to the threshold at which Small Brewers Relief begins to taper from 5000hL to 2100hL, a measure that will directly increase the tax burden on around 200 small breweries that have already been hit hard by the COVID pandemic, threatening jobs and the future of breweries. Small breweries create more jobs than larger ones, but this also represents a significant new disincentive to growth for those not directly affected. A small number of medium-large breweries, who have lobbied successfully for this outcome with a campaign of misinformation, will achieve enhanced profits. In a UK drinks sector already riven with anti-competitive practices and dominated by a handful of large powerful companies, this is just another example of larger businesses flexing their contacts and resources to put their smaller competitors at a further disadvantage. The net effect will be fewer breweries, jobs lost, reduced competition, reduced quality and reduced consumer choice at the bar. So I and we urge the Government to change its mind and reinstate the original threshold of 5000hl and not to capitulate to lobbying from a small number of well-connected and already dominant medium sized and larger breweries, who wish to protect their businesses from open competition and reduce the tax burden on their companies by increasing it on others. We urge the Government to think again and support small brewers and to only consider changes that do not impose an extra tax burden on small brewers.
Sign the petition!
Please sign the #BackOurBrewers petition here. If you are a brewer or publican, then please also give the name of your brewery or pub.