Understanding the UK’s Beer Duty Reforms

with SIBA's Head of Public Affairs and Policy, Barry Watts

Season 5


Episode 173

On 1st August 2023, the United Kingdom will implement a new system for alcohol taxation in a ‘radical simplification’ (Rishi Sunak’ of the system, moving from a percentage-based discount to a cash discount basis.  In addition, various reliefs – including ‘draught relief’ designed to encourage people back into the pub – have been included in the changes.

However, it has already been reported that a global brewer has informed publicans that one of its flagship lager brands is to reduce its ABV from 3.8% to 3.4%, creating an annual cost saving of around £15m.

To the frustration of alcoholic beverage producers, the specific details were only published by HMRC at the start of July, only weeks away from the new system going live.  With an expansive amount of changes afoot and little time to fully understand them, it’s little wonder that brewers and licensees are feeling confused, having been left in the dark for so long.

On the podcast this week, we’re joined by SIBA’s Head of Public Affairs and Policy, Barry Watts, as he explains the changes and their impacts on the sector.

Given the complex nature of the changes, we have included the following resources for you to help digest the information we discuss in this episode:

  • https://toolbox-siba.co.uk – SIBA members can gain access to a variety of tools, including a calculator to help work out their duty cash discount.
  • Email Barry Watts – Barry has invited anyone – SIBA member or otherwise – to contact him if you have any questions
  • Steve Dunkley at Beer Nouveau has written extensively on the subject of the reforms and offers a variety of tools.
  • Official info from HMRC – also includes a calculator

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