Practical advice for Brewers
Practical advice for Brewers
Write to your MP to tell them why SBR matters to your business
Write to your MP telling them why SBR is so important to your business
If you think SBR is vitally important and want to see it protected and positively reformed in line with SIBA’s proposals, write to your MP by following the easy to use guide, found here.
What is Small Breweries’ Relief?
Small Breweries’ Relief, or SBR, (sometimes known as progressive beer duty) allows small brewers to pay a more proportional rate of duty on their beer. This allows small professional brewing businesses to compete with global brewers who dominate the marketplace. A brewer up to 5,000 hectolitres (hl) of production per year pays 50% of the standard duty rate. 5,000hl is around 880,000 pints of beer. Above 5,000hl a year, the rate at which brewers pay on the standard duty rate tapers down until 60,000hl – whereby the full standard duty rate is applied.
Treasury Reform of SBR
HM Treasury is now reviewing SBR to determine if reform is needed, and if it is needed, what this reform might look like.
SIBA is fully engaged in this review. SIBA members should receive regular updates via the toolbox and Brewing in Brief emails.
Why did Government introduce SBR?
SBR was introduced in 2002. SIBA began lobbying for the introduction SBR at its formation, back in 1980 and this was successful after 20 years of hard work.
At the time, Government introduced SBR for 3 main reasons:
The future of small breweries’ relief
Since its introduction in 2002, British independent craft brewing has been transformed. But the reasons for SBR’s introduction are as valid today as they were back in 2002. But now, we have a vibrant, exciting, innovative brewing scene in the UK which leads the world.
SIBA recognises that SBR has been responsible for this transformation and the growth in our sector, but also recognises that SBR could be improved. We believe tweaks can be made to an already winning formula to improve the sustainability of British independent craft brewing and now is the time to press these to Government.
Defending small brewers
SIBA is resolute that no brewer should lose any duty relief as the result of any reform. SIBA will continue to defend SBR at current levels whilst lobbying for positive reform. Small Breweries’ Relief at current levels is essential to the future – 83% of SIBA members say it is ‘extremely important’ to their business, 5% ‘very important’ and a further 8% consider it ‘important’.
How to reform the scheme
Once a brewer reaches 5,000hl of production, the rate at which duty relief is withdrawn on every extra barrel produced is rapid. This is referred to as the ‘cliff edge’ within SBR and can act as a significant deterrent to growing a business. As our model (link above) shows, SIBA is now asking Government for this ‘cliff edge’ to be smoothed, removing the cliff edge and incentivising brewers to grow.
The Small Brewers Duty Reform Coalition (SBDRC) argue that in order to smooth the curve above 5,000hl, there needs to be reform below 5,000hl. SIBA does not believe there exists an economic, political or moral rationale for withdrawing any relief to any brewer below 5,000hl and we will continue to defend SBR at current levels below 5,000hl. To remove relief for brewers below 5,000hl would result in the closure of many brewing businesses across the UK. This would be unacceptable to both politicians and consumers, and be contrary to the original intention of SBR – as a progressive beer duty.
SIBA will engage fully with the Treasury review and continue to gather as much support as possible from across the brewing industry.
Is the policy of progressive beer duty working as intended?A report for the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) by economics consultancy CEBR
SBR – proposals for reform; A presentation by SIBA on the future of SBR
Westminster Hall Debate pack for MPs