Why do beer and pubs matter?

UK plc

Beer is a British product and a major tax contributor. There are now over 1,700 breweries in the UK

Beer and pubs contribute £22bn to UK GDP and generate £13bn in tax revenue.



The production and sale of beer creates jobs in agriculture, brewing, pubs and the wider supply chain.

In total the beer and pub sector supports almost 900,000 jobs. 46% of those employed in the sector are 16-24 year olds.


Responsible Drinking

Government challenged the industry to remove 1 billion units of alcohol from the market by 2015. By reducing the strength of existing products and introducing great-tasting lower strength brands, the industry met this target ahead of schedule with brewers alone removing 1.2 billion units.

UK alcohol consumption has decreased by 18% since 2004. Harmful and underage drinking have also fallen sharply.

Pubs at the heart of the community

Beer supports pubs

At the heart of every pub is beer, mostly British-brewed, often locally. Beer is enjoyed by millions of UK adults. Keeping pints affordable is the best way to support community pubs.


Bringing people together

Pubs play a unique role in national life. Friends are made and communities come together in pubs. Almost 1 billion pub meals are sold annually.

Vibrant small businesses

Pubs boost local economies by an average of £100,000 per year. Around 85% are community or rural pubs, bringing jobs to parts of the UK that need them most.

Providing community services

Many pubs run vital public services such as post offices, local shops and broadband internet access, as well as putting on community events and cultural activities.

A partnership approach

Pubs provide safe, supervised drinking environments. Pubs, the police and local authorities work together to tackle alcohol misuse.

Ambassadors for Britain

For our tourism industry, pubs are a leading attraction and contribute to positive perceptions of the UK. The Government features pubs in its global GREAT Britain promotional campaign.

Glass half full

Bitter memories

The beer duty escalator (2008-2013) meant beer tax increased by a staggering 42%. This caused immense damage to the sector and squeezed the pockets of ordinary people.

Beer duty is particularly regressive, hitting those on lowest incomes the hardest.

An escalating problem from 2008-2013
* Beer duty increased by 42%
* Beer duty revenues increased by only 12%
* Beer consumption fell by 16%
* 7,000 pubs closed
* 58,000 jobs were lost

Turning point

The decision to scrap the escalator and cut beer duty by 1p at the 2013 Budget was cheered by pubs and Britain's 32 million beer drinkers.

Further cuts in 2014 and 2015 restored business confidence and a brighter future for UK pubs, but there is more to do.


Pennies off duty - pounds in pockets

The sector has worked hard to pass on recent duty savings, helping people to afford a hard-earned pint at the end of their day.

Beer price increases in pubs are at their lowest since the 1980s

A taxing problem

Room for improvement

Recent duty cuts recognised the unique economic and social value of beer and pubs.

But, after years of above inflation duty increases, beer is still overtaxed compared to our near neighbours. Britons pay almost 40% of all EU beer duty but only consumed 12 of the beer.


Slow progress

It will take many years to undo the impact of the beer duty escalator.

Any increase in beer duty in the 2016 Budget will undermine the recent cuts and the positive impact they had for British consumers.


Maintaining momentum

Even with the recent duty cuts, the industry is under severe pressure.

Any future tax increases will curtail renewed ambition, damage jobs and inhibit investment in manufacturing and skills.

What next? A further cut in beer duty would:


  1. Ensure a pint in the pub remains an affordable pleasure for the millions of beer drinkers and pub-goers

  2. Secure 1000s of additional jobs

  3. Continue to rebalance alcohol taxation and encourage people towards lower-strength, British-made drinks

  4. Be popular with supporters of all political parties

Did you know?

1188 AD

Did you know?