An industry campaign has been launched to highlight the vital contribution pubs make to the British way of life and the threat they face from a range of tax pressures.
It comes with a focused call to sign a petition and write to MPs to ask for a cut in beer duty.
The campaign has been launched by Britain’s Beer Alliance, which numbers founding global brewers ABInBev, Carlsberg, Heineken and Molson Coors among its members, as well as many regional and independent breweries.
The campaign, which has taken six months to develop, including extensive strategic and creative development driven by consumer research, will be supported by a £3 million investment each year for at least the next three years.
It will comprise nationwide posters, regional press advertising, a cinematic online film, and extensive social and digital advertising, reaching almost 20 million pub-goers and industry staff.
David Cunningham, the campaign’s programme director, said:“The punitive beer tax, in conjunction with the other tax pressures from VAT and increasing business rates, are without doubt the biggest challenges facing the pub and beer industry right now.
“Between 2008 and 2013, the industry experienced the devastating impact of a five-year escalator policy on beer duty. In five years, we saw beer sales decline by 24% in pubs, 5,000 pubs close and 58,000 pub and brewing related jobs lost.
“We need a cut in beer duty, and in the current political and economic climate we recognise that this is not going to be easy to achieve. It will require a step change in approach from the whole industry, but we cannot allow beer tax to increase again.”
He added: “Our campaign will show the positive role that local pubs play in our lives, and remind people that pubs play a vital role in villages, towns and cities across the country. They are great places where a wide variety of life’s events — big and small — are played out, making them a unique part of modern British culture and identity.
“We will, however, also raise awareness of the jeopardy our local pubs face from an unprecedented range of tax pressures contributing to three local pubs a day closing their doors for good.
“This campaign is important and its success will not only help local pubs, but job security, the wellbeing of the economy and most importantly local communities across the country. I encourage everyone who enjoys pubs to get involved in the campaign and join the cause to say no to the planned increases in beer tax and help secure the future of your local.”
Crucial role in the community
Sara Barton, co-owner of the Marquis of Granby pub and Brewster’s Brewing Company, said: “We own the original Marquis of Granby pub, in Granby, Nottinghamshire. Granby is a tiny village of 350 people and as the only pub for a few miles around we know what a crucial role it plays as the social core of the community.
“This new campaign to lobby for a beer duty cut and to champion pubs is timely indeed and we wholeheartedly support it!”
Ewan Harries, of Individual Inns, who runs a selection of pubs in North Yorkshire and Lancashire, added:”The pub is at the heart of British society. Even in this digital age, it continues to bring together customers of all ages to socialise and thus strengthen the community.
“A campaign to champion the pub is long overdue. Not only to flag its values to those not currently engaged, but to make the political elite aware of the dangers of the current punitive tax system and regulatory burden currently snuffing out this cultural icon.”