How does Budget 2018 impact on independent brewers?

On Monday, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond delivered his Autumn Budget. The brewers, drinkers and publicans who emailed their MPs in the weeks before the Budget made a huge difference to the outcome. A big thanks to all SIBA members who got engaged and lobbied their MPs

Small Breweries Relief

The Treasury announced that following the conclusion of industry discussions Government will now lead a review to ‘ensure SBR supports growth in the sector’. All the way through industry talks SIBA has resolutely defended the maximum relief available for all brewers below 5,000hl. SIBA has also pushed for positive reforms of the curve above 5,000hl, removing the ‘cliff edge’ to growth. To read more about SIBA’s SBR proposals, click here.

Commenting on the review, Mike Benner said:

“SIBA, as the voice of British Independent brewing will be front and centre in working with Treasury to usher in the next chapter of SBR. We will ensure the smallest breweries are protected, growth is incentivised and the sustainability of UK brewing is the centrepiece of reform.”

Result: SIBA is in a strong position to lead positive reform.

Beer Duty

Despite fears that the Chancellor’s was going to raise beer duty with inflation, he instead froze beer duty. This means brewer’s biggest cost (next to people) will not rise, and valuable time will not be lost over the next few days having to update software, invoicing and spreadsheets.

Beer duty will remain at the following rates:

Alcohol type Rate per hectolitre per cent of alcohol in the beer
Beer – General Beer Duty £19.08
Beer – high strength:

Exceeding 7.5% abv – in addition to the General Beer Duty

Beer – lower strength:

Exceeding 1.2% – not exceeding 2.8% abv


Commenting, Mike said:

“A freeze in beer duty is good news for UK brewers, publicans and beer drinkers. A planned rise in line with inflation would have meant a £100m hit to Britain’s brewers. We will be toasting the Chancellor this week with a pint of British independently brewed beer.”

Result: SIBA called for a freeze or a cut for the sector. A win.

Business Rates and the high street

The £1000 pub specific rate relief, which cost the Treasury around £30m a year is being scrapped, but being replaced instead with a £1.5bn package of measures to support the high street (which includes pubs). All retailers in England with a rateable value below £51,000 will have their business rates cut by a third.

That’s an annual saving of up to £8,000 for up to 90% of all independents bottle shops, taprooms, bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes. This £1.5bn package also includes £650m for local councils to help regenerate high streets. If done right, this could help to push people back to the centre of towns and villages, and potentially stop for a pint along the way, too.

Mike said:

“There is also good news in this Budget via the £1.5bn ‘high street rescue plan’.As the policy only applies in England; brewers, publicans and responsible drinkers in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will want their devolved administrations to back this proposal, too.”

Result: this package goes further than the extension to £5000 pub rate relief SIBA called for. Whilst its not a permanent solution or a wholesale review on business taxation this will help the sector.


You can read the speech here.

And view all the Budget  documents here.


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