Brewery blasts increase in beer duty

Budget will do nothing to tackle binge drinking and could be “ruinous” for one of Britain’s few success stories, says Patrick McCaig.

THE Chancellor’s decision to increase beer duty by 7.2 per cent has been described as “ruinous” by an East Devon Brewery, which fears more people will buy cheap vodka and cider to drink at home.

Patrick McCaig, of Otter Brewery, says the increase comes at a time when local brewers have already seen the price of raw materials increase - along with the cost of haulage.

He believes it will do nothing to tackle binge drinking and damage one of Britain’s few success stories.

“This is a real kick in the teeth to the local brewing sector, one of the few British success stories of recent years,” he told The Midweek Herald.

“Local brewers are just the kind of business this government says it wants to see prosper: they create jobs for local people and contribute to the local and wider British economy by using home-grown ingredients.

“Yet the current beer taxation regime is killing off our main route to market - the British pub.”

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Mr McCaig added: “The effects of this will be even more acute in rural areas where the pub if often at the centre of village life.

“Continuing to increase taxes on draught beer, drunk in the socially responsible environment of the pub, will serve only to increase purchases of cheap vodka and ciders for unsupervised home consumption.

“We fail to see how this policy can help tackle binge drinking at a time when it is needed most.”