Brewers toast beer duty cut

Dave Mayhall with a pint of Allgates Brewery Mad Monk beer
Dave Mayhall with a pint of Allgates Brewery Mad Monk beer

GEORGE Osborne has thrown a lifeline to pubs, say Wigan’s two real ale breweries - by stopping the so-called beer escalator mid-travel and knocking a penny duty off a pint, the Chancellor earned a muted “cheers” after this week’s budget.

By stopping the so-called beer escalator mid-travel and knocking a penny duty off a pint, the Chancellor earned a muted “cheers” after this week’s budget.

Brewster Patsy Slevin, of Standish-based Prospect Brewery, said that beer should be an affordable pleasure rather than an occasional treat. And by halting the annual climb in Excise Duty and the small reduction, the Government was offering some help to ensure that it remains the nation’s favourite tipple.

Wigan All Gates director David Mayhall said that beer tax has risen an eye-watering 42 per cent since 2008, meaning Britons had been paying an “astonishing” 40 per cent of all beer taxes collected in the entire EU.

Prospect Brewery is celebrating the first anniversary of opening its first pub, The Silver Tally in Shevington Moor.

Boss Mrs Slevin believes that price as well as quality is a key factor to halting the catastrophic contraction in the industry.

She said: “The Chancellor has listened to the many voices calling for an end to the duty escalator and then gone one step further by cutting a penny off the pint. This will be welcomed by drinkers and licensees along with a growing number of MPs across the divide who have campaigned long and hard for this.

“The move will help generate growth and jobs in brewing which is one of the country’s few remaining manufacturing industries.

She also believes that the revenue to the Treasury from the move in terms of resulting increasing activity in the sector will “far outweigh” whatever they might have earned from beer duty.

Wallgate-based All Gates has a growing estate of half a dozen pubs spread across the borough - and welcomed the beer duty changes because it could finally help to slow the decline in pub-going rather than drinking at home.

Mr Mayhall said: “It has been calculated that a freeze in Beer Duty last year could have saved 10,000 jobs ... instead beer barrel sales declined by 775,000. In fact, since 2004 a fifth of the total UK beer market has disappeared in the last six years.

“Overall beer duty has, as near as dammit, doubled in the last 10 years and it is clearly time for the Government to re-assess its whole strategy on beer duty as a whole.”