Increased Beer Duty – A Blessing For Craft Beer

Increased Beer Duty – A Blessing For Craft Beer

The Chancellor's 2011 Budget has just added 7.5% to beer duty. With MPs, brewers and pub owners alike, speculating that on-trade could suffer at the hands of yet another alcohol tax hike, it would seem that the beer industry has finally found a common enemy to unite against.

BrewDog, however, disagree. In fact, we at BrewDog whole heartedly back the rise in the duty on beer.

For years we've striven to fight against the faceless, monolithic corporations and their ability to discount supposedly 'premium', industrially brewed lagers that are placing a stranglehold on the UK beer scene whilst simultaneously destroying consumers' perceptions of what 'good' beer really is.


The increase in duty can only make it less profitable for organisations such as these to sell their beers at wholly irresponsible prices that have a broadly negative impact on society; a responsibility that companies such as these have been ignoring for far too long in the name of profit margins and corporate greed.

While increased beer tax will go some way towards putting money back into the country for the social woes caused by irresponsible consumption and pricing, we also feel that craft beer could really benefit from the proposed hike. If someone has to pay slightly more for their beer, they should expect more from it – any industrial, chemical ridden, insipid mass market lager will surely only leave them with the unsavoury aftertaste of disappointment?

With beer being slightly more expensive and with no cap against future rises, we hope more people will see the true value of craft beer - beer brewed with passion, integrity and the best ingredients. You wouldn't buy an 'economy' grade loaf of bread when you could have an organic and locally produced artisan product for only a little more money, so why should beer be any different?


The craft beer revolution is coming to the UK, and increases in duty can only help to get more people to drink better quality beer and reduce the impact of irresponsible pricing by industrial brewers on society as whole.

BrewDog also fully back any proposals for a minimum price per unit on alcohol and are currently the only brewery to publicly back the Scottish Government's recent proposals on the matter.

With pub owners and MPs rallying together to ward the tax rise and minimum price per unit, now's the time to stand together – not against rising costs – but against poor quality beer that could easily cripple the UK beer scene and the livelihoods of those who work within it for good.


Posted in - brewdog-news


  • If a person has £50 of disposable income to spend on beer a month, then that's what (s)he'll spend. Putting beer prices/duty up won't get him to spend more - (s)he will still only have £50 to spend and will spend it to get as 'much' from it as possible, whether that be quantity or quality. The mentality that goes for quantity will just drink more down-market and possibly turn to crime to subsidise it. Those that go for quality are PROBABLY better 'educated' and less likely to turn to crime or social disorder. AIMHO of course.
    Jock Dryburgh26.03.2011
  • Eddie, beer duty already off-sets the costs of the wildest estimates of alcohol abuse? A difficult one to quantify right enough but this article gives you some idea, you might want to have a gander at it


    I think the Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini said it best recently when she said Scotland faces an apocalypse of alcohol-fuelled crime (for which I'll take to read alcohol abuse of part thereof) unless Scotland curbs its hard-drinking culture. I’m not suggesting that is Brewdogs fight but through good quality craft beer and education I hope it will help

    I don't know if you live in a 'regeneration' part of Glasgow like I do (no stamp duty to pay at least when you buy a house!) but on a daily basis I witness the social costs of alchol abuse through anti-social behaviour, unemployment etc etc.

    I could go on & on but my latest shipment of brewdog has arrived so I'm going to go home & drink responsibly and get up in the morning and take my kids to the park which is unfortunately showered in broken glass courtesy of cheap, powerful booze so that’s more of my time I have to spend contacting my council & trying to get that resolved (yet another hidden cost)

    I’m beginning to bore myself now so I bid you good day
    Toni C, Glasgow25.03.2011
  • Oh c'mon - I love your beer but that is just misguided nonsense.
    Jock Dryburgh25.03.2011
  • A blessing???? Really???
    Maybe some people enjoy drinking yellow piss. Why are those super breweries so successful....because some people get more satisfaction from a good deal rather than a real beer!
    Guys I for one enjoy your beers.....stick to what your good at.....thats brewing!
    Spunk Bum25.03.2011
  • Craft beer offers much better value for money than generic beers. A price increase across the board will make people having either less money for good beer or only money for cheaper beer and get less people drinking good beer.
    Huib Piguillet25.03.2011
  • If someone budgets £50 a week to spend on going out/drinking, then this duty hike will force them to either drink less, downgrade to cheaper beers in pubs (I am finding myself drinking more crappy Greene King as opposed to better ales), or drink more at home.

    Either way, in the long run if this continues pubs and small breweries will lose out, and the BrewDog bloggers will regret backing increasing the price of booze.
  • do you not think that the price increase will just shift what is considered cheap along the pound scale? So if a cheap can was £1 and is now £1.20, and a good beer was £1.80 and is now £2, it doesnt really change anything? Peoples perceptions of what is good value will just shift as the prices across the board increase.

    Neil, eatingisntcheating.blogspot.com25.03.2011
  • I like the argument James, neat. But you forget vast swathes of the population that live on modest (and limited) incomes. Beer tax is a regressive tax on the poor and, in a fair society, would be minimised. There is no link between excise levels and quality of beer.

    You might like to do your sums too - beer duty already more than off-sets even the wildest estimate of the costs of alcohol abuse.

    Nice try, no cigar.
  • Matt, clearly missing the point of 'Marketing'. Think about it.
  • when will this endless torrent of self centered publicity driven nonsense end? Is brewdog run by grumpy spoilt teenagers? Your trendy beers are selling well but try not to be complete nobs or you will eventually put people off.
    Matt Mason25.03.2011
  • If the price of beer goes up I'll drink just as much good real ale down at my local. However, I'll spend less on the "craft beers" I buy online.

    Unless times get really tough I won't give up bottled "craft beer" of course - I love it too much - it'll simply become a rarer thing in my life. Perhaps I'll buy 3 bottles of Abstrakt instead of 6. Then again, who's brewdog to care? They live in the lucky space of not being able to make enough beer to meet demand... a bit of a price increase is unlikely to make much of a difference to them.

    Basically my locals (which serve excellent real ale) and the communities I'm part of at them are more important to me than the beer I drink at home.

    Is "craft beer" actually "beer for the antisocial"?
  • I'm afraid I can't agree guys, increased tax on beer whilst spirits and wine have no increase will just cause people to switch from drinking beer to alternative alcohol. If craft beer costs them more then people are even less likely to try it to realise there really is a massive difference and that it is worth paying a bit more for.
    Beer being sold as a lost leader is at the supermarkets' loss, not necessarily the pissy lager companies and supermarkets will continue to be able to absorb future tax hikes on beer by putting up prices on other products. I fully support the idea of a minimum price per unit, as offlicences will not be able to get around this, but indiscriminate tax rises will disproportionately affect the on trade and result in the loss of more pubs and ultimately small-scale breweries that don't bottle their product.
  • I really don't understand your argument. Is Brewdog just for pretentious middle class wankers ? (Quote: You wouldn't buy an 'economy' grade loaf of bread when you could have an organic and locally produced artisan product) and / or Beer Geeks? Where does 77 lager fit in? And why did you water punk down?

    Do you really think people are that price-insensitive?
  • One of my hobbies is homebrewing. The cost of homemade beer is roughly 50p a pint, but if you account for time then probably £2.00 a pint. The beer I made seems cheaper than supermarket beer as I can afford the time, but in terms of quality it is one of the best things you can enjoy. So when the price of cheap lager becomes to expensive with tax, people will discover that making there own is better and when they decide that want something that tastes like there homebrew, but don't want to spend the time making it, they can drink craft beer like Brewdog.
    Rob Castle24.03.2011
  • I don't think people will turn to better value craft beer when the beer taxes go up (as they have been for the past 16 years) They will turn to worse beer in cheaper deals from supermarkets. And the death of the pub will continue.
    sam hill24.03.2011
  • And I don't think the people at BrewDog ever said there was anything wrong with people drinking cheap beer, at least you know it is cheap and not of good quality. What they have a problem with is giant companies making the public believe that their product is of high quality when it is not.

    BrewDog and other craft breweries are not out to run giant breweries out of business, they are there to offer an alternative and to educate the public of the difference between their product so that they can make an informed choice and will therefore feel more satisfied that their money is spent on something worth while
  • Just because an idea is not conformist does not make it wrong. If you follow conventional thinking, all you will ever be is conventional.

    James, BrewDog24.03.2011
  • And put pubs who make a lot of their money from generic beer out of business? So hopefully it'll only be brewdog bars still in business in the uk?
    Sam Hill24.03.2011
  • more power to craft beer!!! I wish there was a craft brewery here in the Philippines
  • Craft beer offers much better value for money than generic beers. A price increase across the board will make people realise this and get more people drinking good beer.
    James, BrewDog24.03.2011
  • You back people having to pay more for beer because it will gain you more custom. Do you back the increase for beers over 7.5%? And what the hell is wrong with people drinking cheap lager? It hits the spot at time and not everyone can afford to spend £4 or £5 quid on one beer. Not with a mortgage and three kids. If anything is a problem for society it's being able to buy a 70cl bottle of 40% spirits for £9.
    Tom mann24.03.2011

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