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22nd July 2020

Growth enhancing review of Small Brewers Relief set to save British pint as we know it

Small Brewers today welcomed the outcome of the Treasury review of Small Brewers Relief, first announced in Budget 2018. The new proposed relief will more closely align with economies of scale in the sector so will allow for fairer competition and will incentivise the growth of brewers.

A spokesperson for the Small Brewers Duty Reform Coalition said

“This is a very important step in saving the British pint as we know it.

“After years of engagement, discussion and analysis we are very pleased that the Treasury has put forward sensible and measured proposals.

“The reform will preserve a significant level of support for the sector during these challenging times but will also encourage sustainable growth for all small brewers, micro and mid-sized alike.

“All the trade associations in our sector recognised the need to review Small Brewers Relief and submitted their proposals and evidence base.

“We are grateful for the professional and even-handed way Ministers and Officials have dealt with the review.”

Quotes from a selection of members:

Andy Hepworth, Managing Director, Hepworth Brewery

“This is a step forward for our industry which will encourage the sustainable growth of small brewers well into the future.”

Jonathan Price, Owner, Exmoor Ales

“Revising the duty curve and correcting the unintended consequences of the SBR regime is so fundamental to the survival and future development of the British brewing industry. Now sensible consolidation and growth can happen.”

Mark Gordon, Founder, Wimbledon Brewery

“The outcome of the Treasury review is very welcome news for all breweries like our own that have strong growth ambitions. It will undoubtedly lead to an increase in investment in the sector.”

Matt Jackson, Director, Lancaster Brewery

“Such unexpected great news that the brewing industry hasn’t been forgotten during the year of crisis. A 15-year struggle to get a review, however small, is a momentous day and hopefully we can now unify as an industry to move on together and have fewer restraints to growth.” 

Rupert Thompson, Owner, Hogs Back Brewery

“The Treasury review of Small Brewers Relief was evidence based and thorough. We are delighted that SBR will be reformed to remove the market distortive element and encourage growth. It is critical that all the leading companies now pull together to develop one positive, constructive voice to create a genuinely sustainable future for cask ale and small brewing in the UK.”

Simon Theakston, Executive Director, T&R Theakston

“We are delighted that the Treasury review of the Small Brewers Relief Scheme has resulted in proposed changes which very clearly address a number of the unintended consequences created by the original scheme. We particularly welcome the fact that the proposals will encourage breweries of all sizes to grow, which is also excellent news for the future sustainability of the overall UK beer industry.”

Tim Dewey, Chief Executive, Timothy Taylor & Co Ltd

“I am pleased to see that despite a challenging economic environment, the government has recognised the genuine concerns our industry has with the distortions and disincentives within the Small Brewer’s Relief scheme and has acted to address these. There are some very positive steps in the right direction here for all of us who want a great future for cask ale.”

William Lees Jones, Managing Director at JW Lees

“The beer industry has waited a long time for this announcement, and we are delighted that HM Treasury have now made these very positive proposals.”

For further information, contact Will de Peyer []

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Small Brewers Duty Reform Coalition (SBDRC) consists of over 80 brewers, of which all are independent and/or family owned brewers. The Coalition was formed in early 2017 with the very specific purpose of asking Government to review and improve Small Brewer Relief (SBR).
  2. Stakeholders from across the whole industry agreed on the need for reform and all submitted to the review that was announced in October 2018.
  3. At the introduction of Small Brewers Relief the Government set the relief equivalent to a cash subsidy of £25/hl for a brewer at 5,000hl. However, as a result of increases in the headline beer duty rate, it has actually grown by 60% to £40/hl. A small brewer producing over 5,000hl finds it very difficult to compete, despite their larger size, as the relief does not taper in line with the impact of economies of scale experienced in the sector.