French brewers face massive tax hike

French president Francois Hollande is pushing for a 160% increase in beer taxes, proposing that the money be used to help fund struggling social programs as France tries to limit its budget deficit.

The tax would affect both French-brewed beers and imports. Imports account for about 30% of French beer consumption.

The measure would result in 20% higher prices in bars and supermarkets, said Jacqueline Lariven, spokeswoman for the French brewer’s federation Brasseurs de France.

”This measure will affect all brewers, including small entrepreneurs,” said Pierre-Olivier Bergeron, head of the Brewers of Europe, in a report from the Associated Press. “‘This is a very shortsighted approach by penalizing one sector.”

The Brewers of Europe, a trade group, called the measure a “kick in the teeth” and complained that beer is ”being singled out” compared to wine. Bergeron said he believes that’s because of the French government’s reluctance to raise the tax on the country’s favorite alcoholic beverage.