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16th February 2012

Brakspear pubs to stage Tax-Free Beer Day in Henley

Ten Brakspear pubs in Henley-on-Thames are to stage a Tax-Free Beer Day on Tuesday 28th February, as a way of highlighting the punitive taxation on beer in the run up to next month’s Budget and encouraging the town’s drinkers to sign a petition calling for a more pub-friendly tax regime.

From opening to last orders, all the pubs will be selling pints of Brakspear Bitter, Kronenbourg and  Fosters at £1.30 off their normal selling price – usually around £3.10 – £3.30 for a pint of Brakspear.  Beer duty, VAT and other taxes together add around £1.30 to a pint of beer (based on a price of £3.10), turning what should be one of life’s affordable pleasures into an irregular treat for many people and contributing to pub closures.

Brakspear, with other pub operators and brewers across the country, has been lobbying the Chancellor for more sympathetic treatment in the 2012 Budget.  Lower taxation would help to rebalance the difference between pub and supermarket beer prices, encourage people back into their local and save an estimated 16,000 jobs over the next few years.

Tom Davies, Brakspear chief executive, said, “The great British pub has been hammered by beer duty and VAT increases, while the recession has forced people to cut down on leisure spending. It’s no surprise that pubs are struggling.

“Not only are pub closures bad for the economy, they’re also bad for society: pubs are the home of responsible, supervised drinking where beer, a low alcohol drink, is enjoyed as part of a social interaction. This is far preferable to the uncontrolled consumption, often on park benches, of higher alcohol drinks purchased from supermarkets.

“We hope our Tax-Free Day encourages more people to enjoy a pint or two in their Brakspear local and inspires them to sign our petition to help protect these pubs.

Mark Dunlop, tenant at The Angel on the Bridge, said, “This is a great way of highlighting the tax burden that pubs have to bear.  We’d love to sell Brakspear at this price every day – it would make us much more competitive with the supermarkets and we’d sell more beer. “

Caption to attached image: Brakspear chief executive Tom Davies with the £1.80 cost of a pint of beer on Tax Free Beer Day (based on a £3.10 usual selling price)

Notes to editors

  • Figures quoted in this release are based on CAMRA’s ‘Briefing on Beer Tax 2012’, which calculates tax  as contributing £1.30 to the cost of a pint of beer priced at £3.10, made up of:
    • Excise duty: 48p
    • VAT: 52p
    • Employment tax: 18p
    • Business rates: 12p


  • Brakspear pubs in Henley are encouraging customers to sign a petition to the Government. This “declares that the British pub is a vital part of local communities and their business must be supported.  The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons halt plans to increase beer tax in the on trade.  The petitioners further request that the House of Commons cut VAT to 5% in the hospitality sector to support jobs and local businesses.”


Issued on behalf of:                Brakspear

By:                                           ShielPorter Communications

Further information:                Ros Shiel

07841 694137