The Treasury has announced changes to Small Breweries’ Relief, the progressive tax system that revolutionised UK brewing, which will reduce the 50 per cent duty relief threshold from 5,000 hectoliters to 2,100hl, meaning small breweries will have to pay more duty.
Shrewsbury-based Salopian Brewery tweeted: "SBR gave us the opportunity to grow, invest in our brewery and team. If this goes through it will result in less choice, brewery closures and job losses."
Jack Hobday, one of the founders of Anspach and Hobday Brewery in Bermondsey, is the man behind the petition which is being backed by industry body the Society of Independent Brewers.
“This is a big threat to small breweries across the country. Our small brewers have created better competition, consumer choice, jobs, local investment and strengthened local communities. Please support us in reversing the proposed tax rises that could put hundreds of small breweries out of business," he said.
Small Breweries’ Relief is largely credited with the upsurge in small independent breweries over the last 20 years and creating such a diverse and successful British brewing industry. Consumer choice and quality when it comes to beer has never been as high, but the proposed changes could seriously damage the industry.
SIBA, which represents around 750 independent craft breweries across the UK, has given the petition its full backing as part of their call on Government to back British beer by halting the tax rises.
James Calder, SIBA chief executive, said the organisation welcomes the Government’s proposals to make it easier for businesses to grow but that this cannot come at the expense of smaller breweries who have been amongst the hardest hit during coronavirus, having been unable to apply for much of the Government support offered to the hospitality industry.
“Independent breweries have been left high and dry by the Government during coronavirus, so to hit them now with a proposed tax rise will be devastating. During lockdown small brewers have seen beer sales drop by on average 80 per cent, and just as they are taking their first steps back into normality the news of a proposed tax hike has caused a huge rift in the industry.
"For some breweries the rising tax bill could force them into closure and for many others it will stifle growth, as breweries delay growth in order to remain small to stay below the level at which beer tax starts to rise. It’s a huge own-goal by a Government aiming to kickstart our economy, stimulate growth, and get local businesses thriving."
To sign the petition or view the current numbers visit petition.parliament.uk/petitions/334066