Beer importer attacks superstrength tax
Specialist beer importer James Clay has launched a stinging attack on the new higher rate of duty for beers with a strength of more than 7.5% abv.
The tax, intended to curb superstrength lager abuse, comes into effect next month. But Clay says the tax will unfairly penalise higher-strength beers which are intended to be consumed in smaller measures.
Nigel Stevenson, speciality beer consultant at James Clay, said: “The policy has unfairly singled out beers over 7.5% as the root cause of problem drinking. These beers actually account for less than 0.5% of UK alcohol sales, whereas 99%+ of wine sales are over 7.5% abv.
“So why is the government pointing the finger at world classic beers such as Duvel, Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout and Schneider Aventinus – each of them the Mouton Rothschild of their styles – and not wine?
“The government is alarmingly out of touch with the market and the real cause of problem drinking: cheaply priced alcohol in supermarkets.”
Clay estimates the tax will impact on nearly 28% of the beers in its range.