Wednesday 1 December 2010

Blame Canada?

The news that the government are going to increase tax on strong beers really got on my tits. Unsurprisingly Brewdog, who brew a lot of strong beers, are more than a little miffed as well. More surprisingly they seem to blame CAMRA:

In our opinion, CAMRAs support for the proposed legislative changes reflect their own agenda. Not a concern about drinking issues in the UK but a preoccupation with pushing the same bland cask ales that never vary greatly in ABV, flavour or imagination. It's as unimaginative of them to come out in support of this legislation as it is unsurprising. As long as their boring beers, defined on a flavour spectrum of bland 3.5% mild to boring 4.2% bitter are unaffected they remain obliviously content and are callously indifferent to the greater development of the craft beer in the UK. It's a real shame these people are seen to represent the craft ale industry in the UK. They don't represent contemporary thinking about beer and they certainly don't represent BrewDog.

Now I know they were writing on their blog, and as my good friend Rob says beers bloggers like nothing better than slagging off CAMRA, but really isn't this getting a bit silly? 

The actual position of CAMRA about the forthcoming change to beer tax is that they're disappointed about the increase in tax for strong beers but welcome the reduction in tax for very weak beers. 

I would like to have seen CAMRA put the boot into the tax increase a bit more. And it would be nice if CAMRA took up The Pub Curmudgeon's suggestion and campaigned for real ales to be exempt from the tax rise, as the tax rise is supposedly to discourage people from drinking tramp juice lagers, not rare expensive beers. 

I can't help but think though that the antics of Brewdog in baiting the Portman group would weaken the case for the products of 'craft' brewers being exempt from this tax rise.


  1. While, as I said on my own blog, I am no fan of special pleading, an exemption from the tax for cask and bottle-conditioned beers would be a fairly good approximation to those 7.5%+ beers that are not, in general, consumed irresponsibly. I'm sure Robinson's could manage to put a bit of sticky yeast into the bottom of Old Tom bottles ;-)

    Bear in mind that the 1990s Beer Orders did set a precedent for this by allowing pub company tenants to have one cask-conditioned guest beer, but not a guest lager.

  2. BrewDog: "There is now a huge disincentive for a customer to buy a Hardcore or a Paradox and consequently is much more likely to buy a much larger volume of discount beer instead.". Well surely lads, that's only true if they were buying it for the alcohol rather than the whole redefining beer shit.

    And it is a bit unfair to knock CAMRA for being pleased about a low rate for the weak beers - they've been arguing for that for years. At the same time Benner did say "News that tax will be increased on beers above 7.5% abv is disappointing." But you know they're not going to call for a drinking strike over that.

    You know what it is? BD v. Portman has got tired so BD v. CAMRA will do for a bit. Eventually, people will just get fed up of BD entirely. I think I'm ahead of the curve on this.

  3. Of course, the people who have spent the last two years yelling "Strong! Strong! STRONG! Stronger than you ever thought possible! Stronger than THAT! Weird wobbly edgy dangerous trippy scary STRONG beer, OMG it's so f***in' strong it ought to be BANNED, only KIDDING, it's so strong you need to drink it NOW, in fact you need to drink it now because TOMORROW we're bringing out one that's even STRONGER!!!1!" haven't done anything to draw the government's attention to strong beers. Perish the very thought.

  4. one stiff one or a few others-just more flavor and less pissin