Cask beer tax looms

British beer drinkers may have to pay more for pint in a pub

Jan 1, 2000 - British beer drinkers face high prices for draft beer in the New Year. Customs and Excise told brewers that the tax regime for beer casks would change in a way that adds about 1% to the cost of a pint. Bottled, canned and keg beer is not affected.


Independent brewers are protesting that this "stealth tax" was "sneaked through" by the government. The measure was to go into effect New Year's Day but after protests the ministers have agreed to a delay.

Under the new plans, tax will be payable on the entire contents of beer casks while before brewers paid duty on the notional contents. Traditionally they have overfilled casks in order to take account of spillage and to comply with weights and measures laws.

Anthony Fuller, chairman of the Independent Brewers of Britain, said the move was a "stealth tax which will hit hardest, the smaller brewer, the community pub and the drinkers of traditional draft beer." Oliver Letwin, the Tory Treasury spokesman, said the move was a "mean-spirited stealth tax on one of Britain's favorite industries."

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