Beer importer attacks superstrength tax

22 September, 2011

Specialist beer importer James Clay has launched a stinging attack on the new higher rate of duty for beers with a strength of more than 7.5% abv.

The tax, intended to curb superstrength lager abuse, comes into effect next month. But Clay says the tax will unfairly penalise higher-strength beers which are intended to be consumed in smaller measures.

Nigel Stevenson, speciality beer consultant at James Clay, said: “The policy has unfairly singled out beers over 7.5% as the root cause of problem drinking. These beers actually account for less than 0.5% of UK alcohol sales, whereas 99%+ of wine sales are over 7.5% abv.

“So why is the government pointing the finger at world classic beers such as Duvel, Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout and Schneider Aventinus – each of them the Mouton Rothschild of their styles – and not wine?

“The government is alarmingly out of touch with the market and the real cause of problem drinking: cheaply priced alcohol in supermarkets.”

Clay estimates the tax will impact on nearly 28% of the beers in its range.

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