2014 beer duty cut: Benefits clear for independent brewers

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Beer duty escalator, Beer

The nation’s beer lovers drank nearly 33 million more pints of local beer than in 2012
The nation’s beer lovers drank nearly 33 million more pints of local beer than in 2012
The argument to once again scrap the controversial beer duty escalator in next month’s Budget has been bolstered by the fact that the local brewing sector is now ‘thriving’ following last year’s cut. 

The 2014 Beer Report, released today by the Society of Independent Brewers, revealed that the nation’s microbrewers are reaping the benefits of the escalator being scrapped in 2013,​ with volume sales since growing by an average of 7.9 per cent to 1.55 million barrels of beer.

“Beer Report 2014 should provide the Chancellor with much to cheer, demonstrating as it does the wisdom of his decision this time last year to end the beer duty escalator,” said SIBA’s chief executive Julian Grocock.

“That decision sent a clear signal that the government recognises the vital contribution that independent brewers, economically and socially, make to the hundreds of localities where they are based. 

“In response, our members, feeling more confident in the long-term prospects for our industry, have invested in their businesses by buying new equipment, opening pubs and recruiting new staff.”

Based on survey responses from around 250 SIBA brewers, the Beer Report revealed that over 10,000 different beers were brewed over the past year, including 4,000 permanent cask ales – a 25 per cent increase on the 2012 figure.

The number of SIBA members has also grown, by 11 per cent to 723 members, which created 900 new jobs in the sector.

Local heroes

The report revealed that ‘the majority of SIBA brewers wholeheartedly embrace their responsibilities to the locality where they operate’, with 5,500 people now directly employed in local brewing and local community engagement including charity support (cited by 80 per cent of survey respondents), events and sponsorship (73 per cent) and brewery open days (77 per cent).

“We are delighted that, once again, we are able to portray a successful, vibrant and innovative independent brewing sector,” added Grocock. “Occupying this pivotal role at the heart of communities and economies up and down the land places local brewers and SIBA as their representative body, in a unique position to build the future of British brewing.

“It is a role we will fulfil with commitment and passion, as we have for the last 34 years."

The themes of Beer Report will be continued at BeerX, SIBA’s annual celebration of British beer and brewing, taking place in Sheffield from 11th​ to 15th​ March.  BeerX will stage the SIBA National Beer Competition and Business Awards, a Festival of Beer, a series of seminars delivered by industry experts and speeches from key figures from brewing, pub retailing and politics from the UK and abroad.

The 2014 Budget will take place on 19 March. 

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