French vote through 160% beer tax rise

Posted in BEER NEWS  |  Posted by   |  12.05.2012  |  1 Comment

Despite the best and combined efforts of brewers, bar owners, consumers, politicians, citizens and celebrities over the last six weeks, the French Parliament last night approved a bill to hike French beer tax by a massive 160%.

The French Senate had twice sendt the law back to Parliament with a modest amendment — proposing a still substantial 120% tax increase — but the law was passed without modifications.

Pierre-Olivier Bergeron, secretary general of the Brewers of Europe, said: “What makes this even more galling is that beer has been singled out amongst the other alcoholic beverages — despite beer only representing 16% of the French drink market and per capita beer consumption in France already being the second lowest in the EU.”

The measure will hit all brewers and all beers, with only a slightly lower increase for some medium-sized breweries.

Mr Bergeron said: “One of the few rays of light for the French beer sector during the economic crisis has been the growth in microbreweries, but these small businesses will also be hit with a 160% hike. And as for any health arguments that have entered the debate, one only has to note that it is the lowest strength alcoholic beverage that is being singled out here and even non-alcoholic beers will be hit by the top rate of 160%.”

The measure will hit not just French brewers but all brewers exporting to France. Mr Bergeron added: “Thirty per cent of French beer consumption is imported beer, coming mostly from Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and the UK. Simply put, this tax increase destroys the business model of many of these brewers and may indeed lead to a number of brewery closures.”

The hospitality sector has been fighting the measure hand in hand with the brewers throughout the autumn. In total around 65,000 jobs are generated by beer in France, of which 70% in the hospitality sector, beer representing over a third of the revenues for cafés and brasseries.

Mr Bergeron said: “The beer market in France is forecast to decline by up to 15% as a result of this measure, and jobs in the 35,000 hospitality establishments in France would be particularly hard hit. With the tax expected to lead to a 25 to 40% increase in the price of a small beer, this will further accelerate the existing trend from café to home consumption, which has already contributed to the closure of 12 thousand establishments since 2007.”

The French opposition party has already signalled its intention to refer the case in the coming days to the French Constitutional Court as a potential discriminatory measure between beers on the one side and wine and cider on the other.

Speaking for the UK industry, Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “Lower strength drinks like beer shouldn’t be singled out for excessive tax hikes. However, it is still worth pointing out that even with this huge rise, UK beer tax is still more than three times higher than in France — around 39p per pint. And there must be more than a degree of schadenfreude in Germany about beer tax, as the UK rate is now an astonishing 13 times higher than theirs.

“Under the UK Government’s escalator policy, beer tax is set to rise even higher, despite increasing by 42% since March 2008. More than ever, we need a rethink on beer tax policy and a review of this unpopular and damaging tax.”

Tags: , , , ,

One Response to “French vote through 160% beer tax rise”

  • It is often said that the damage done to health by alcohol places a burden on the health services.
    Has anyone worked out what the difference would be if all the alcohol related deaths were avoided and more people lived to an old age and were affected by other “normal” ailments ?
    Maybe getting ill and dying early actually helps health costs.
    Germany doesn’t need the tax, why does anyone else?

    Les Anderson

    12.05.2012   |  Reply

     
 

 

Leave Your Reply





Site last updated:
Saturday, October 25, 1.04pm
Got a story? E-mail darren@beertoday.co.uk or call me on 07867 585395

Ebuzzing - Top Blogs - Wine and beer
newsdesk

Categories

brief
Camden Town Brewery has created India Hells Lager (6.2% ABV), "IPA resurrected as lager" • Chiltern Brewery's Black Chocolate Stout (9.5% ABV) is available now. Brewed with a blend of 100% British roasted malts, including chocolate malt and rolled oats, and hopped with an extra charge of choice English Fuggles, the beer has been matured for 18 months in the brewery's cellars • Old Chimneys Brewery's Good King Henry Special Reserve (2012 vintage) has gone on sale at EeBria. Stocks are limited to six bottles per customer • Hogs Back Brewery and Montezuma's Chocolates have teamed up to create a chocolate lager, based on the brewery's Hogstar lager • BrewDog is launching Pumpkin Head Ale (5.1% ABV) for Halloween. It available from October 16 online at BrewDog's online shop and on October 17 in the brewer's bars
More brews in brief
Cask Ale Week
events
Events coming this week in Lonfon, Brighton, Falmouth, Swindon, Twickenham, Glasgow, Chesterfield, Godalming, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and York

Latest event added: Siren Craft Brew Halloween Party with Magic Rock and Buxton beers, November 1
bdb
Tweets
Captain Greybeard (http://twitter.com/ CaptGreybeard "Thank you, BBC R5 for clarifying on air that the problem on the M25 is a van fire "and not a vampire as some people thought we said earlier""

...and Tweets you liked from @beertoday
• @YoungsPubs chefs match @EstrellaDammUK to tapas ow.ly/BNYDS
• Preview: @edenproject #beer festival ow.ly/BL8PI @StAustellBrew ow.ly/BL8PI
• @oldalehouse And beer o'clock on a Friday, too. Best beer o'clock of the week I reckon...
Brewery

Brewers — are you listed on Beer Today? We offer a free listing for your brewery and beers
Latest update: Joule's Brewery

RSS Craig Heap