The British Beer and Pub Association has published a timely little table about beer tax, which we all agree is too high in the UK. It topically shows the price per pint of beer tax in the countries competing in the European Championship and of course shows England at the top. There are the usual quotes about how the amount of beer tax is crippling pubs and the obviously appalling fact that although we drink 13% of the European Union's beer, we pay 40% of the total tax on beer.
Now the logical among us know that the Chancellor knows this too. He clearly reckons he can get away with it, which makes signing the petition about beer tax all the more important, but given that, quite possibly futile. He'll say the money has to come from somewhere I'd imagine. Returning to the table, there is some interesting stuff. It reads like this:
Euro 2012 Beer Tax league table
1England 55p 2 Sweden 47p
3 Republic of Ireland 39p
4 Denmark 17p
5 Netherlands 16p
6 Greece 15p
7 Italy 14p
8 Russia 14p
9 Croatia 14p
10 Poland 12p
11 Portugal 9p
12 Czech Republic 8p
13 France 7p
14 Spain 5p
15 Germany 5p
16 Ukraine 4p
All the more remarkable is the fact that it is likely, nay certain, that the table would look quite different if it showed the average price per pint in the on trade - the pub - in each of the countries featured. I rather suspect that we'd come out of this a whole lot better, as anyone who has been daft enough to buy draught beer in France would agree. In terms of pub pricing, duty clearly isn't the only factor in play.*
We do we need to redress the balance between on and off trade, but it seems on the face of it that on average, we aren't getting such a very bad deal in pubs compared with our EU cousins. Clearly it could and should be better if duty had only risen in line with inflation. So we need a duty cut, or at least a duty freeze.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, CAMRA Chairman and (local) activist, beer author, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010 and 2011. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
This blog mentions specifics; pubs and beer, good and bad. The opinions will be forthright, but you can always disagree, just don't be offended. Comments from those mentioned are particularly welcome and a right of reply is hereby offered.
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