Llandudno brewery owner: beer duty freeze ‘great news for the industry’

THE owner of a Llandudno-based brewery has hailed the cancellation of the planned rise in the tax duty on spirits, wine, cider and beer, as announced in the Budget speech by Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Wednesday.

But Dave Faragher, who founded Wild Horse Brewing Co in 2015, added that the five per cent cut to rates on draught beer and cider from containers larger than 40 litres, as of 2023, may have been misinterpreted as customers ‘paying less for their pint’.

As well as fuel, the planned rise in duties on alcoholic products were cancelled by the Chancellor, who called the UK’s 380-year-old system of alcohol duty ‘outdated, complex and full of historical anomalies’.

The Budget speech also included plans to make all sparkling wines pay the same duty as still wines of equivalent strength, to drop the rates on many low-alcohol drinks, and to slightly increase the rates on stronger red wines, fortified wines, and high-strength ciders.

Mr Faragher said: “The beer duty freeze on Wednesday was great news for the industry, especially at a time where we are seeing such massive price increases in our raw material costs. 

“I do, however, feel that the reality of the five per cent reduction in draught beer duty is quite different to how it will be publicly perceived – it’s being reported as a tax cut to beer but it isn’t going to happen for quite a long time (2023), and it doesn’t mean that consumers will be paying less for their pint. 

“It has been promoted to the public by the Chancellor as something which will help pubs and the hospitality industry, but the reality is that beer duty is a tax paid by breweries and that doesn’t have to be passed on to the pubs.

“It was also announced that the 2023 beer duty reduction will only apply to kegs over 40 litres, which excludes much of the craft and microbrewery industry – most craft breweries (including Wild Horse) package keg beer in predominantly 30-litre kegs. 

“We absolutely believe that 30-litre kegs should be included in this duty reduction, but the whole debate seems to be masking what is going to be a massive tax saving for the macro breweries. 

“If the rules were changed and the five per cent beer duty saving was applied to a 30-litre keg of our best-selling beer (Nokota), we’re talking about a 54p-per-keg beer duty saving. 

“If everything else remained equal, that saving would be passed on to our customers, but at the scale we are at, we’re not talking about huge sums of money for us or our customers.”

Based just off Builder Street in Llandudno, Wild Horse Brewing Co brew modern craft beers, including ‘hop-forward’ beers, Hazy IPAs and pale ales.

For more information, visit: www.wildhorsebrewing.co.uk.

North Wales Pioneer | Llandudno