Furious brewers brand decision to raise taxes on small beer firms a ‘disgrace’

Furious brewers branded a controversial decision to raise taxes on small and independent ale producers a “disgrace”.

And they warned it could lead to more pence on craft beers.

Now the Treasury is facing calls not to scrap the Small Brewers Relief Scheme as it will see firms go bust and jobs lost.

Introduced in 2002, it gives a 50 per cent discount on duty for firms brewing less than 880,000 pints a year (5,000 hectolitres).

But larger brewers argue it distorts the market.

Under the reforms, due next year, brewers who produce more than 2100hl (370,000 pints) will not qualify for the relief.

James Calder of the Society of Independent Brewers said the decision was “unfair in the middle of the pandemic”.

Cliff Walker, of Castle Eden Brewery, County Durham, said the “tax hike could be the final nail in the coffin for many Small Brewers”.

Last Month, the Treasury published a technical consultation report on the future of small brewers relief.

A Treasury spokesperson said: “After extensive consultation on small brewers’ relief, we’ve taken the decision to reform the way the relief works to help more businesses in the sector grow.

“Over 80 per cent of businesses will be unaffected by these changes, and we’re consulting with industry on technical design of the reforms.”