MPs learn the economic importance of beer and cheese

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Big cheese: Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group, Mike Wood MP, highlighted the importance of British beer and cheese
Big cheese: Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group, Mike Wood MP, highlighted the importance of British beer and cheese
The National Farmers Union (NFU) joined forces with the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group to highlight the importance of British beer and cheese to the UK economy.

The two groups teamed up to host a beer and cheese tasting event for MPs at the House of Commons on 16 January to demonstrate the close ties between farmers and brewers.

MPs and peers sampled a range of British-made beers as well as a selection of the 700 cheeses that are made in Britain.

Beer and pubs generate £13bn in tax revenue every year, while the total value of cheese sold in the UK in 2016 was £2.75bn – with almost half of cheese eaten being British.

Mike Wood MP, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group, said: “The UK produces over 700 cheeses – more than France - and 10,000 different beers. Both are traditional agricultural products that trace their histories back thousands of years.

“This tasting in the House of Commons showed not only the enormous diversity of both British cheese and British beer but how they are a match made in heaven - an Isle of Wight blue cheese with Suffolk ale; a West Midlands Brie with Scottish lager; or a London Porter with a smoked cheese from the north-east - this was a mouth-watering eye opener.”

NFU vice-president Guy Smith added: “Beer and cheese provide vitally important markets for British dairy and arable farmers both at home and abroad. Two million tonnes of British malting barley is grown every year – while around 25% to 30% of the milk produced by dairy farmers is processed into cheese.

“We want MPs to understand the significance of both supply chains to the UK economy and to support British farmers and brewers so they can remain competitive, sustainable and resilient. And of course one of the best ways to discuss this is over a pint of British beer.”

Related topics: Legislation

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