THE duty charged on draught pints is to be frozen to help 'the great British pub, the Chancellor has announced in the Spring budget statement. 

While drinkers will see tax on other alcohol soar by 10.1 per cent in August in line with inflation after a freeze during the peak of the cost-of-living crisis, Jeremy Hunt set out a separate rule which will see the duty on draught pints in pubs drop to up to 11p lower than in supermarkets.

A local brewery however, has said the announcement needs 'context', and it's not as simple as pubs and customers getting an 11p discount on their pints. 

Alison Davis, of Carlisle Brewing Company said: "Beer duty has been frozen since 2020 but is due to increase in August 2023 from £19.08 to £21.01 per litre of alcohol in the product. 

"The introduction of draught beer relief means that this increase will not be quite as high for any beer sold in quantities of more than 20 litres and are sold to attach to a dispensing system i.e. a hand-pull - so a 4.0 per cent beer will be no more expensive in terms of duty if bought in a pub but 5p more expensive if sold in a 500 ml bottle. 

"To help small breweries invest and also compete against the small number of global companies that dominate the industry, the government introduced the small brewers' relief 20 years ago. 

READ MORE: Carlisle Brewing Company is ale you need

"This meant that small breweries paid a more proportionate amount of duty; for the smallest, this meant 50 per cent and allowed the growth of the craft breweries we see today, adding to the diversity of beers and beer drinkers," she said. 

The family-run business, which brought the first brewery back to Carlisle since 1987 from the back of the Spinners Arms in 2013, said that the tax relief is going to be based on alcohol strength, which Alison feels could be the reason brands on bar tops are reducing their alcohol percentage. 

'What should happen is that supermarket prices will increase, allegedly closing the gap to encourage people back into pubs' 

"This is fairly meaningless though given the costs of alcohol sold into pubs against the cost to supermarkets, economies of scale and the ability of the supermarket to offset VAT.

"What would have helped pubs and small breweries and ultimately their customers would have been practical help with rising utility costs, support via VAT reductions and help to encourage staff retainment and employment through training, funding, or apprenticeship schemes," she said.