The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has published its proposals for Small Breweries’ Relief (SBR) reform and issued rallying cry for industry backing.

SIBA says SBR can be enhanced to encourage job creation, investment and growth in British independent brewing whilst protecting our flourishing smaller brewers.

SIBA has written to HM Treasury calling for:

  • Positive changes to the shape of the relief curve for breweries making over 5,000 hectolitres (hl) of beer per year to encourage further growth, removing the ‘cliff edge’ that currently exists as the relief is rapidly withdrawn.
  • No withdrawal of relief for any brewer below 5,000hl to safeguard the viability of smaller businesses that depend on SBR at current levels.
  • Support for an industry-led review at least every five years to ensure SBR continues to work well and promotes sustainability in the sector.
  • New measures to encourage normal mergers and acquisitions activity.
  • Removal of beer that is exported from the SBR calculation to encourage export activity.
  • An extension of the scheme to brewers up to 200,000hl as permitted under EU law.

If adopted, SIBA’s says its proposals, will improve an already successful Government policy, which has fuelled the unprecedented growth in craft beer, creating enormous choice and diversity for beer drinkers.

CAMRA’s National Chairman Jackie Parker said: “Now is the right time to build on the success of beer duty reductions for small brewers. The decision to cut in half the duty paid by Britain’s smallest brewers in 2002 has led to a brewing renaissance in the UK with the total number of brewers increasing fourfold and consumers enjoying unprecedented choice.

“To help Britain’s small brewers grow further, we are calling on the Government to not only retain the existing relief scheme but to reduce the rate at which duty relief is withdrawn, as small brewers grow in size, by extending the cut off point to the maximum allowed under EU rules. This move would support economic growth, jobs and consumer choice.”

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