today my job changed

Today, in offices much like ours, Louise and Colin – people like Zak and his team,  Nigel and Ian, Andreas or Steve, Bart Verhaege,  then people like Nick and Duff, then Martin and Tom will all have dramatic tiered changes to make to their presentation, er, Offering.

Oddly, I guess there might be conversations in offices in Denmark or Northampton, perhaps wherever Tennents is made, but more so in Cheshunt – life will carry on as normal.

The simple reason specialist beer importers, retailers and beer specialist venues will have to charge more, is because of a simple multiplier High Strength Beer Tax that comes into place today.  Yes, that’s a tax for beers over and above 7.5% ABV – capturing in the same net dolphins and tuna – Chimay and Tennents Super;  Stone Arrogant Bastard and Carlsbery Special.   Beers with different origins and space on the shelves of various Retailers.

Why am I concerned, surely the reassuring tones of governmental research showed that you dear beer lover is less price senstive when purchasing High Strength Beer?

Ok, picture this: say a bottle of Chimay will go up 25p perhaps more. 75p at least by the time that hits the shelves of bars.   25p when in retail space, is the difference between two bottle buy and one.    75p, is the difference between a buy and no buy.

I believe the tax system that has been applied is a Pigovian taxThe tax is intended to correct the market outcome. In the presence of negative externalities, the social cost of a market activity is not covered by the private cost of the activity.” – now as you know, I am not the strongest writer in the camp; nor the most erudite – but the way I see it the simple reasoning behind the tax levy was to inhibit the purchase of super strength beer because of their links to antisocial behavior etc.   What the papers would have called a Sin Tax.

Walking through Canterbury last night, after a tasting with some 80 people, students and academics and everyday folk all mixed together – tasting beers from 3.5% thru 11%.    No issues, no trouble – save for a dodgy comedian; long story.  Out in the town, many people drinking “continental style” – cafe sat, coffee, beer or wine all being consumed conscientiously.    I saw a quite few people walking along with Tall Cans of “Mystery Lager”.   I saw one pub with a raucous kick out happening – attended by a brand new Range Rover, unmarked with blue lights appearing from below the grills.    Who were they “attending to”, middle-aged men.     Sad.  Thankfully they didn’t look like Craft Beer people.  More statistics.

You’ll see from the opening paragraph that it was easy to name the family of beer-importer-retailers. There isn’t many of us.   Specialist beer, be that  Artisan, Craft, Craft Keg, Imported Bottle, Cask beer, Real Ale – what ever church you follow, it affects us all.    It’s just more pronounced when your business, livelihood, wellbeing is tied to the sale of over – 7.5% beer.      The internal effects of this,  I know of at least 6 beers that are going to be capped at 7.4%.  I know beers that will not be brewed again.   I know of beers that will not be imported.    I know that considerations have been very clearly stated to continental brewers that beers of 7.4% and above will not be given much push. Times are a changing.   When was the last time you had a breadth of strong, rich, full flavoured massive beers in front of you…  I look forward to seeing Dover Beer Festival this year, “the festival of 5% and above beers” – I don’t hold much hope for the range of biggest of the big beers.

So, if something is taken, something must be given?    2.8% and below, now are 50% off the Duty rate.      As someone who championed 3% beer in cask, and has had long conversations with Eddie Gadd (who if you don’t know does a lot behind the scenes with SIBA); then brewed 2.8% called Low and Behold. (Although, I now know that in fact small brewers aren’t entitled to that lower tax offering, only brewers who are abvove the small brewers discount PBD)   it’s expensive brewing beers at 3%, ingredients that we don’t fully use, massive amounts of hops that compensate for the lack of body – few have mastered the style – perhaps Redemption Trinity is a master of this very small band of beers.  Without checking Ratebeer or something, I would think there were more over 7.4% beers than sub 3% on the market in the UK

All price rises do not reflect the rise in the cost of life, expectations of wage increases and simple business costs.    It’s going to be harder to sell 2 bottles of beer, rather than the one.   Considering the cost of travel is always rising – when you get to the bottle shop, are you then going to have 1 or 2 bottles?   you know the answer.

What were alternatives. Direct regulation?  Did you know that Governments can choose to directly regulate things?   Speed Limits?  (oh noes that’s up for debate too) – wouldn’t have something like “you cannot sell alcohol below cost”  although one wonders if invoices are easily fudged when selling to TESBURAS Or that TESBURAS political weight was just powerful enough to shift the onus from them?

See, we elect people in suits to go and do their best for the UK, both home and abroad.  Make choices and decisions based on heartfelt instincts and research, insight, experience and knowledge…

Did they do the right thing?

have they fuck.

Welcome to Utah.

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10 thoughts on “today my job changed

  1. We sell 347 bts of beer, 75 of them will be hit by the new law! Crazy to think that beers like Chimay blue will cost over £5 a bt. A list of beers that are socially unacceptable by the govt!
    Trappiste Rochefort 6
    Corsendonk Agnus (Tripel)
    Corsendonk Pater (Dubbel)
    Dragon Stout
    NØGNE India Pale Ale
    Stones Ruintation Ale
    Weihenstephan Vitus
    Paulaner Salvator
    Chimay Wit
    Bon Secours Blonde
    Maredsous 8 Brune
    St Bernardus Tripel
    Chouffe Big Chouffe
    Chouffe La Chouffe Blonde
    Chouffe McChouffe
    Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor
    Guinness Special Export
    King Cobra
    Goose Island Pere Jacques Belgian ale
    Morlan’s Kiltlifter Scotch-ale
    Leffe Radieuse
    Schneider Aventinus (Tap 6)
    F/D Raging Bitch Belgian Style IPA
    Karmeliet Tripel
    Leffe Tripel
    Delirium Tremens
    Delirium Nocturnum
    Dupont Beloeil
    Hoegaarden Forbidden Fruit
    Hoegaarden Grand Cru
    Coronado Idiot IPA
    Morlan’s Double IPA
    Gordon Scotch Ale
    F/D Gonzo Imperial Porter
    Anchor Old Foghorn
    Chimay Blue
    Leffe Nine
    Chouffe Houblon Double IPA Triple
    NØGNE Imperial Stout
    Trappiste Rochefort 8
    Westmalle Tripel
    Urthel Hop-it
    F/D Wold Dog barrel-aged Imperial Porter
    Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout
    Victory Golden Monkey
    Grimbergen Bruno
    Maredsous 10 Tripel
    St Bernardus Abt 12
    Chouffe N’Ice
    Gordon Finest Gold
    Durham Temptation Stout
    Gulden Draak
    Weihenstephan & Samuel Adams Infinium
    Brooklyn Chocolate Stout
    Kasteel Bruin (Tripel)
    Trappiste Rochefort 10
    Bush (Scaldis) Beer

  2. This has nothing to do with negative social externalities. This is a cynical attack on the niche beer drinker. The government can see a burgeoning industry and a growing market and they want their cut. They almost said so themselves in the Review of Alcohol taxation.

    The effects of a Pigouvian tax are supposed to be beneficial to all whilst being detrimental to few or none. There is nothing Pigouvian about this taxation policy, as you rightly say, drinkers of high abv beers (and to my mind that includes Tennents Super) are far less likely to cause problems than the suited knobhead straight out of his call centre who has polished of 8 pints of 5.2% Act-a-twat. So why can the government not see this? Well, they can, but In-Bev are considerably more powerful lobbyists than the likes of BrewDog (despite Mr Watt’s defiance). Look which breweries were consulted for the Review of Alcohol taxation….. In-Bev, Molson Coors etc etc.

    The powerful will defend their interests. The only thing we as consumers can do it drastically reduce our lovely governments tax revenue by drinking beers produced solely by niche producers…. i.e those who enjoy the benefits of the small brewers relief. Sadly I fear there are too few of us to make a dent in the tax revenue to give them pause for thought.

  3. If we lobby a complaint to Parliament and get 100,000 signatures they will be forced to look at the issue again and create further debate. Paying a ridiculous sum because other people can’t tolerate alcohol is rather baffling. They haven’t researched spirits and affects from spirits which receive a duty freeze. If they realised that it’s spirits just as much as cheap alcohol to blame then they would be forced to at least recognise that.

    The market research they have provided is a sham. They can’t provide conclusive evidence of official sales of ‘super-strength’ lager or beer yet it’s the issue when the real issue is too much awful beer an uneducated people. It’s just another entry for them to create more income. I doubt any tax breaks will be given to breweries whom are already doing too much for this economy. We should therefore be encouraged to drink their beer not punished. Cafe culture is the future but even that hasn’t been properly promoted by the Government.

    As a crat beer drinker whom is used to drinking 7% beers responsibly I am aghast at the lack of research, awareness and understanding. The Courts already think 5% is a strong beer when it isn’t. This country has social issues which have not been looked at and this is the very front of the problem. Not a strong beer.

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  5. Yep; total, unadulterated bullshit and one that further persecutes the wrong people/section of society. Good to hear your (retailer) side of the story.

    • Well put. There are now several similar blogs from the likes of Summer Wine Brewery, Hardknott Brewery, Magic Rock Brewery, Moor Beer Company, Melissa Cole and blogs by myself, Beersay & Ghost Drinker as well as Will Hawkes writing for the Independent. Probably more that I have missed.

      Is there a petition yet? surely 100,000 is acheivable?
      Twitter #7point5

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