Wrong about beer, says Neame

17 October, 2008

The government's view of beer is "completely wrong", according to the chief executive of Kent-based brewer Shepherd Neame.

Jonathan Neame told Off Licence News: "The government's perception of alcohol in general, but in particular beer, is wrong

- completely wrong."

In the latest preliminary results for the brewer, chairman Miles Templeman agreed: "The alcohol industry in general continues to face ever -increasing political interference.

"It is particularly disappointing the government does not recognise the important social, cultural and community role of British beer and also fails to recognise the economic value of our sector.

"Rather, it sees the industry as a tax collection point on one hand and a social problem on the other."

Shepherd Neame intends to continue to lobby the government to keep the tax burden to a minimum.

Neame said he was "pretty satisfied" with the results. Pre-tax profit was down from £10.5 million to £9.1 million and turnover was up 1.7% from last year.

"They're not too bad, though it's a very difficult market at the moment ," he said.

He was keen to point out the success of Asahi, which saw volume increases of 11%. The Japanese beer is produced by the brewer under an exclusive licence for brewing, sales and marketing.

"It's a very good beer and seems to have caught the mood of consumers,"

he said.




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