PUBS AT RISK OF MASS CLOSURE AS BRITS STAY HOME
If you’re a beer drinker this isn’t the best of news. As someone who has greatly enjoyed the variety of pubs and pulls in England when visiting, I can tell you that this could be a trend that goes down a dark path. That dark path leads to an England that has far, far, fewer pubs and a culture devoid of the broad variety of beers that had existed, literally, for generations. Brits drank 35 million fewer pints of beer this summer compared to the summer before. Many fear this will continue the trend of pubs closing the doors for good.
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According to the British Beer and Pub Association there was a 3.6% decline in beer consumption in this year’s summer quarter compared to the previous, marking a serious decline in a one year period. One strong possibility is that Brits are drinking beer at home, and the association is warning that Pubs will continue to close down across all of Great Britain if some action is not taken soon to address what has become “sky high” business rates that are keeping customers at home. What’s to blame? One answer might be that taxes on beer has gone up 39% over the last decade, killing the pint and a pie.
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Chief executive Brigid Simmonds said to media, “When the Government was cutting or freezing beer duty from 2013-15, sales of British beer stabilized, after years of steep decline. With sales down this quarter, following the Budget tax hike, urgent action from the chancellor is needed. Beer has had a 39% tax rise in the past decade. With tax rates 14 times higher than in Germany, these levels are unsustainable.”
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She also added, “We need fair taxes for British beer, so that brewers and pub operators can invest in thriving pubs, and take advantage of new opportunities to export more beer around the world as we leave the EU.”
It seems that after Gordon Brown changed the tax levels on craft beer there was a boom in new breweries. But it should also be noted that last year was the first that Britons drank more spirits than beer, thanks in part to the new popularity of gin. We can blame the Millennials for this, too.