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13th February 2012

SIBA gears up for Budget

The Society of Independent Brewers’ pre-Budget campaign has moved up a gear with the organisation’s Budget Submission now presented to the Treasury and its members briefed to lobby locally for a more beer-friendly tax regime.

SIBA’s Budget Submission highlights both the success of the Government’s investment in the local brewing sector through Small Breweries’ Relief (SBR, also known as Progressive Beer Duty), and the disastrous consequences of its disinvestment in the wider brewing and pub industries through its punitive taxation of beer.

SIBA Chairman Keith Bott said, “Once again, our submission to the Treasury points to the positive impact of SBR: local beer volumes are in growth and local brewers are investing to meet this growing demand, creating jobs and making a significant contribution to their local economy.

“However, the  Government’s beer taxation policies will, if unchecked, undo all the good created by SBR. For local brewing to thrive, so must pubs: 82% of our members’ production is draught beer. Yet the very existence of this vital route to market is threatened by successive hikes in duty that are rapidly turning a pint of beer into an unaffordable luxury – and encouraging drinkers away from a low-alcohol drink, enjoyed in the controlled environment of the pub, towards higher ABV drinks, consumed in unlicensed and unsupervised premises.”

He adds, “The Government appears to want its cake and eat it, but the truth is that a flourishing local brewing sector, making a sustainable contribution to local and national economies, has to go hand in hand with a similarly prospering pub industry.”

At SIBA’s quarterly Council meeting, the organisation’s 21 trustees were armed with copies of ‘The Beer Story’, a leaflet produced with the BBPA and CAMRA, and other materials to help them to engage their local MPs, press and other stakeholders.  All SIBA brewers are being tasked to ask their local MP to write to the Treasury about beer taxation.


SIBA Budget Submission – key points

  • SIBA brewers employ directly approximately 4,000 full-time (or full-time equivalent) people
  •  Each job in brewing generates an estimated 21 jobs across the supply and distribution chain
  • Smaller brewers are more labour-intensive than larger producers. SIBA members average one job per 500 hl, compared to  one per 3,000hl in the industry overall
  • In five years the headline rate of beer duty has risen by more than 35%
  • The duty escalator on beer forces on-trade prices to rise, encourages cut-price off-trade purchasing, and is thus hastening pub closures
  • Despite falling beer consumption in the UK, we contribute 40% of the total beer excise revenue raised by 27 EU nations, whilst accounting for only 13% of total EU beer volumes
  • In spite of such high direct receipts from headline beer taxation, overall revenue is reduced by falling on-trade employment and higher consequent social security payments, and by lower VAT returns from cheap supermarket sales; anticipated and budgeted tax income is not realised

Caption to attached image: SIBA’s trustees at the organisation’s recent Council meeting, held at its head office within the National Brewery Centre, Burton-upon-Trent

Notes to editors

  • SIBA was founded in 1980 as the Small Independent Brewers Association by 20 pioneering microbrewers. Today, it has around 550 members, the majority classed as ‘micro’ or ‘local’ brewers and its campaigning success – particularly achieving the introduction of Small Breweries’ Relief in 2002 – have established it as one of the most authoritative bodies in the brewing industry. SIBA was renamed as the Society of Independent Brewers in 1995, but retains its original acronym.
  • HM Revenue and Customs defines a microbrewer as producing up to 5,000 hectolitres (HL) per annum, and a local brewer between 5,000 and 30,000 HL. Above that, a regional brewer produces 30,000-2,000,000 HL, and a national brewer in excess of 2,000,000 HL. All SIBA full brewing members produce fewer than 2,000,000 HL
  • Small Breweries’ Relief was introduced in June 2002 after a 20 year campaign by SIBA. Originally, it offered relief on duty only to brewers producing up to 30,000 HL, but was extended in 2004 to an upper limit of 60,000 HL.

Issued on behalf of:                Society of Independent Brewers

By:                                           ShielPorter Communications

For information:                      Ros Shiel: 07841 694137 /

Date of issue:                          10th February 2012