Steve Dunkley, the owner of Manchester-based brewery Beer Nouveau, told The Morning Advertiser the proposals put forward by SIBA for a lower rate of beer duty for draught beer in pubs would serve only to benefit regional and family brewers with their own tied pub estates.
“They’ll be able to reduce the price of a pint over their bars, putting pressure on freehouses with higher overheads and lower margins to do the same,” he argued.
Dunkley added that the additional admin on duty return forms would offset any benefit for smaller brewers and that pubcos would use the policy as a “bargaining chip” to get cheaper beer, with no guarantee the cut would be passed on to the consumer or licensee.
SIBA managing director Mike Benner, defended the policy in the wake of the criticism, saying that the cut in duty would be “a good way to encourage people to drink sociably and responsibly in pubs”.
“There are usually huge price differentials on beer between pubs and supermarkets and this would be a positive step to help pubs compete effectively,” he added.
Full duty cut a ‘wonderful thing’
SIBA and Dunkley were united in their calls for a freeze or cut in beer duty across the board.
Dunkley said that a cut in duty across the board would be a “wonderful thing”, while SIBA stuck by its pledge for at least a freeze in beer duty across the board for the duration of the next parliament.