West Berkshire Brewery has partnered with Seattle based Reuben's Brews, to brew and distribute its range of beers for the UK market.
Beer producers have slammed the Government’s latest lockdown rules, which ban takeaway alcohol sales from pubs.
More than three hundred small independent breweries have signed a letter by the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) to the Prime Minister, calling on him to commit to “proper support” for the sector which has been decimated by the Covid lockdowns in 2020.
Small breweries have faced harsh restrictions on their businesses over the last year and saw sales plummet by an average of 80% during lockdown but have not received much of the support given to the wider hospitality sector.
Added to this, the Government is planning a tax increase for brewers via its planned changes to Small Breweries’ Relief (SBR) – the scheme that revolutionised brewing in the UK and made it viable for small businesses to compete against the Global beer companies.
James Calder, SIBA Chief Executive, said: “Over three hundred small breweries coming together to write to the Prime Minister will we hope convey the depth of feeling from the independent brewing sector that it has constantly been overlooked, but more so that it is imperative this Government acts now or risks setting the British brewing industry back a decade with widespread business closures.
A cross party group of MPs, including former Pubs Minister Andrew Percy, are today calling on the Chancellor to reconsider changes to a scheme which many believe has transformed the small brewing sector in the UK.
In a letter signed by 103 MPs, they argue that altering Small Breweries’ Relief (SBR) will put "a great British success story" under threat at a time when many businesses are struggling to survive.
SBR has provided the basis for growth and innovation in the brewing sector and means there is a small brewery in nearly every constituency, employing 6,000 full time jobs and contributing £270 million to GDP each year.
The letter has been signed by Members of Parliament from across the political divide – including a significant number of Conservative MPs who see local brewers as key parts of their local communities and crucial to the levelling-up agenda. 15 MPs went to the House of Commons in November to speak in a debate on the subject, while more than 50,000 people from across the UK have signed a petition calling for the Government to reverse the decision.
Former Pubs Minister Andrew Percy MP, who organised the letter, said: “Small breweries have been at the heart of the craft beer revolution and exist in every part of the UK. They’re often led by entrepreneurial young people, whose innovations in brewing are helping expand choice for the increasingly discerning British drinker.
“Small Breweries’ Relief is key to the success of our small breweries that are leading innovation, creating jobs in our communities and helping to bring people together. The brewing sector has been hurt badly by Covid and needs Treasury support to thrive. Now is not the time for the Government to turn its back on our small breweries by introducing potentially damaging changes to SBR”.
Under the current system, small breweries pay a proportionate amount of tax on the small amount of beer they produce compared to the global companies that dominate the industry. Up to 5,000 hectolitres – which is about 900,000 pints – they pay 50% of beer duty to the Treasury.
Plans announced by the Treasury in July will see the 50% threshold reduced from 5,000 hl to 2,100hl – meaning that over 150 small breweries will have to pay more tax. At the same time, those larger in size will pay the same amount of tax or less. The Treasury also proposes converting the relief to a ‘cash basis’ which could see support for all brewers receiving SBR being eroded away.
Chief Executive of the Society of Independent Brewers, James Calder said: “SBR has been a great success, revolutionising brewing in the UK and allowing more brewers to start up and compete against the global companies that dominate beer in our country. The Chancellor is forcing destructive changes on small breweries, which we have not asked for and do not support. The Treasury needs to urgently reverse course, not reduce the 50% threshold below 5,000hl and give the industry something to cheer about.”
This letter comes as the Treasury announces plans to plough ahead with the changes and has launched a technical consultation to consider how to implement them.
Small breweries have been amongst the hardest hit during the Covid crisis, losing 80% of their sales during the lockdowns when the pubs have closed without the same Government support package as the hospitality sector.
Brewgooder has launched a panto-themed selection box of four beers to raise money to support actors and theatre workers struggling over the festive period.
Salford craft brewery Seven Brothers is launching a series of limited-edition beers to mark lockdown 2.0.
Two former pub group executives have invested in Hofmeister and they say it is on course to be one of the UK’s biggest world beer brands in the next five years.
Brewdog's "F**k You C02" ad banned by ASA
Sol has announced that it is now brewed with solar energy, after the installation of 4,000 solar panels at its brewery in Tadcaster and 9,212 solar panels at its brewery in Zoeterwoude.
Guinness is recalling stocks of its new alcohol-free beer, less than a month after its lunch was first announced.
Small brewers have welcomed a U-turn by the government on lockdown rules in England which means they will now be able to sell beer for takeaway provided it is ordered in advance by phone, web or post.
Carlsberg UK and Marston’s have completed their merger to create a new beer company whose brands include Carlsberg, Carlsberg Export, Poretti, Hobgoblin, Marston’s Pedigree, Tetley’s, Wainwright and 61 Deep.
The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has criticised the Government’s latest “unjustified” restrictions, which prevents pubs and breweries from selling takeaway beer over the national lockdown period.
AB-Inbev has reported increased sales in its UK business in the third quarter of 2020, despite an overall decline in beer volumes in its EMEA division.
Gloucestershire-based organic beer maker Stroud Brewery has embarked on a brand image and packaging redesign which it said had “a new more-targeted message to better engage the ethically-minded beer drinker”.
Aldi is launching a Brewdog beer that was created during a Twitter exchange between the two companies after shoppers drew similarities between Aldi’s Anti-Establishment Beer and the brewer’s Punk IPA.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has cleared the proposed Marston’s and Carlsberg joint venture.
Molson Coors Beverage Company will rebrand Coors Light to Coors from March 2021.
New research released today by the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) shows that the UK’s independent breweries are struggling to cope with a fall in beer sales, just as Government threatens them with increased taxes.
The previously small but booming craft beer sector is now under threat – as the global lockdown saw a considerable drop in craft beer sales, SIBA said. Even after pubs and restaurants started to reopen this summer, craft beer sales remained at just 51% of what they would have expected for a ‘normal’ July, and the new 10pm curfew and rules around table-service only have given pubs and brewery taprooms another hurdle to jump.
The fall in sales comes just as the Government is set to slash the Small Breweries’ Relief, which was introduced to take account of small brewers’ relatively high cost of production and allow them to compete with global brewers.
The Government is yet to reveal exactly how much these taxes will rise, and it is this uncertainty which means 58% of brewers say they are delaying investment, 51% are delaying employing new staff, and 49% are delaying growing their brewing capacity – with just 4% of respondents greeting the Governments proposed tax changes positively.
James Calder, SIBA’s chief executive, said: “This new data shows very clearly that breweries are delaying investment and growth as they simply do not know what their tax bill will look like in the future – it is making a very difficult situation near impossible for small independent breweries across the UK - businesses which have been hit extremely hard by Coronavirus.
The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has highlighted “serious issues” facing the brewing and hospitality industries, which it said the Chancellor Rishi Sunak, failed to address in his Coronavirus financial support announcement today.
Grolsch Premium Pilsner is returning to the UK market this Autumn.
Budweiser, the official beer of the English Premier League, has announced the launch of a new on-pack competition and limited-edition Premier League packs to celebrate the return of the football season.
Hobgoblin is launching its “most-inspired and far-reaching” campaign to date, in the run up to Hallowe’en.
Beavertown Brewery has announced it is expanding to create “London’s Largest brewery”, known as “Beaverworld”.
Brewdog claims to have become “carbon negative” with plans to plant a 2,000 acre forest and £30 million investment in green infrastructure projects.
The brewer already uses wind power to generate electricity for its brewery and bars and converts spent grain into gas to power the brewery.
Craft beer micro-chain The Epicurean has opened its third store in South Manchester on Manchester Road, Chorlton.
East Anglian brewer Adnams has entered the lager market with the launch of Kobold.
Heineken UK has rolled out its 100% plastic-free cardboard topper across thousands of UK retailers.
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