Thoughts and musings on beer, pubs, the on and off trade.
Wednesday, 1 December 2010
CAMRA support the Supermarkets
Originally posted on the CAMRA forum, but C&P'd over here so everyone can have a gander:
And CAMRA have supported this! I certainly won't be renewing my membership now.
How many beers under 2.8% can you name that are available to pubs in the UK? I can think of 2 - Carling C2 and Brewdog Nanny State.
Camra is supporting this because (Mike Benner) However we are pleased that this widely expected increase will be counterbalanced by a tax cut on low strength beers. Reduced tax on low strength beers is good news for pub goers at a time when 29 pubs are closing every week. This move will incentivise brewers to invest in producing new low strength real ales packed full of flavour."
It won't incentivise brewers at all. I can tell you now, having chosen ales for the bar for just short of 4 years now, ranging from Hobson's Mild at 3.2% to Brewdog Tactical Nuclear Penguin (18%, Bottle), the most common strength beer asked for is between 4 and 5 %. Whilst some people, especially at lunch time, ask for the weakest beer, the vast majority choose something higher. Often coupled with a suggestion that weaker beers taste like (insert animal urine here).
So primarily, there's just not demand for these weaker beers. Secondly, small brewers who benefit from PBD will not benefit from the reduction in duty - they already have that reduction. Family+ size brewers would benefit, but why would they if demand isn't there?
There is one group who would benefit from this though - the supermarkets. Tesco lager 2%, ASDA 2.8%, Sainsbury 2.6%
So well done CAMRA. At a time when winter warmers are on the bar and European strong beers in the fridge, you accept this, giving the supermarkets exactly what they want. They want 'cost' to be defined as 'duty+vat' so as to not sell below-cost. Now they've cut that 'cost' and CAMRA having stood by clapping as it's done.
I also expect this to be the thin edge. It won't work - binge drinkers who don't want to pay a bit more for their super-strength lager will switch to cider, wine or spirits, which don't attract this 'super-tax'. As it won't work, next year they'll lower the threshold to 7%. Then 6.5%
And by condoning this action you've also supported the Neo-Pros, who at the next argument will point out that CAMRA supported a move to increase prices in order to reduce binge drinking.