I got a DM yesterday on twitter regarding High Strength Beer Duty (HSBD). I was being informed that there may be more increases on the way. I can see this as being very likely. Thanks to the provider of the information, and for the kicking to get me to talk about more important stuff.
I currently have no firm information, it's a rumour. But there certainly are noises off stage left1 regarding this issue. Let us make sure this baddy is defeated.
CAMRA are championing an increase in the low strength relief. The family brewers would also like this to happen. Beer duty reduction for the big, efficient brewers would help pubs, apparently. This is something I disagree with, but it would certainly be politically beneficial. I feel certain that if the low strength duty band is increased it will almost certainly be countered by detrimental changes in HSBD in order to balance the books for HMRC.
We, the microbrewer, will see no benefit from the low strength discount. We already get 50% discount so we are told we can't get more. Progressive Beer Duty (PBD) which is the name for the discount given to microbrewers, is what has given the microbrewing sector a much needed boost. Erosion of this taxation relief will see the microbrewing industry start to dwindle.
Failure to see that the discount given to low strength beer is going to damage the microbrewing industry is a major issue I have with CAMRA. It is undoing the one thing for which I applaud the organisation.
1Stage left is a thespian term to indicate the side of the stage as seen from the actor's perspective. i.e. the right from the audience. In pantomime, it is traditionally the side the baddy enters.