They Brew it, I sell it, You Drink it... and so do I..

Saturday 24 September 2011

1 Week Till Judgement Day

Warning: This post may contain strong language..... and sarcasm.

Do you like your Imperial Stouts? Do you love a good Barley Wine or Imperial IPA? Is your favourite tipple a Belgian Triple or Quadruple? Or most of what Belgium has to offer for that matter?? Well if your like me and you answered yes, then you can count yourself in the apparent minority. You can also be comforted by the fact the current government doesn't give two shits about your beloved beverages or you in fact.

Yes, we have one week to go before the imbeciles we call our country leaders increase the beer duty by 25% on beers over 7.5%.

They may as well handcuff our beer industry to the radiator and repeatedly punch us in the face.... but wait, what's that I hear you say?? they already do that?? hmm I could never have guessed. I guess this will just be one of those knife blows to the neck in a further attempt to put us down for good and stamp us out for ever.

But what's that I hear you say? they've also given us a gift by reducing the beer duty of beers under 2.8%? Well it all sounds well and good, so I did a bit of counting today. In our specialist beer shop 'Beer Ritz' we stock about six hundred fantastic beers. Would you like to know how many of them are over 7.5%?? ONE HUNDRED AND NINE. And how many do we sell that are under 2.8%...... hmm it seems that number is ZERO!! - So thanks a lot for that amazing gift you've given us there!

It must only be fair if they do a similar increase on wine, cider and spirits though? Surely? Fat Chance! Because of course, if duty was raised like that on something like wine, there would be an uproar. But stick it to beer and commoners like us will just grumble and eventually except it right? Well this commoner wont! You can shove your beer duty up your polished arse!

Do they really think that increasing duty on beers above 7.5% will really fix the alcohol problems of this country? Naah, it's not the multi discounts on cheap bottles of wine, not the 3 litre bottles of cider for a couple of quid, not even the bottles of spirits you can buy from the supermarkets for under a tenner. No, It's those beers over 7.5% - those beers which have heritage, those which have a classic artisan production, those beers and styles which have been produced for hundreds of years - they're the problem - so screw em! Because let's face it, why else would the government be doing this if it wasn't for all the millions of hoodies swilling all that Trappist beer out of their chalices and causing trouble?? And of course, those who actually need our help and education will once again get ignored and brushed under the rug.

I really do feel sorry for our customers who are going to either have to stump up the extra cash for beers they may have loved all their lives. I also feel really bad for the brewers who make the beers. Will brewers like Thornbridge be reducing the strength of their Saint Petersburg from 7.7% to 7.5%? I personally hope they don't. And the fact of the matter is for these 109 beers we sell, if they don't sell we will have to de-list them, and the harsh truth is that they may never grace our shelves again. Simply put, if a beer is too expensive to purchase, and/or no one buys it, it gets de-listed. We can't stock beers which don't shift.

So tomorrow there will be six days left. I for one will be having a massive party on September 30th, and will be drinking loads of Imperial Stouts and Barley Wines - in much the same way that so many partied the day before they banned drinking on the tube - I hope you'll be joining me!

One final message to our so-called-leaders; Your already crippling the beer industry - the last big industry of our country. Pubs are closing, taxes and duty on beer is rising at a ridiculous rate, and now this.

Seriously... fuck off and LEAVE US THE FUCK ALONE!!!


  1. Absolutely, throwing the baby out with the bathwater. See here. Of course the organisation that champions the beer drinker is mounting a high-profile campaign against this. Oh, hang on, it's welcoming the "People's Pint" :-|

  2. Good link Mudge... It doesn't really seems like CAMRA really care either... to busy looking at their 3/4/5% bitters, ales and milds to care about 'speciality beers' - that's how it seems anyway - otherwise thy could have made some serious noise.

  3. To be fair to CAMRA (who, Mudge, being fair to CAMRA?) the Roger Protz article in September's What's Brewing did put this point of view across fairly clearly.

    Though I would have thought the "Old Tom tax" was something worth kicking up a bit of shit about.

  4. Yes, good article against the tax rise in What's Brewing. Whereas Brewdog are in favour of it...

  5. I've come to the conclusion that Brewdog are a little bit weird (childish)

  6. Superb post Ghostie, keep up the good work!

  7. Great post Ghostie. I agree with your sentiments 100% & I'll quite happily help you shove the tax rise up their polished arses!

  8. I can but wholeheartedly agree with you...

    I was sat in the office, with a complete spreadsheet infront of me, wondering WTF, sincerly they are screwing us.

    Craft, Artisan, Import, call it what you will, WILL NOT BE THE SAME.

    You know, the annoying thing, some consumers will realise, but the vast majority wont. Then, like creeping ivy, we'll become like Utah, all beer is in a narrow band, society will look at those that drink as outcasts (much like smokers now) and we'll have to buy our beer from little outlets in the corner. For what? Honestly, for what? it's a bullshit sin tax, foisted on us, 1, because of shitty beer from large corporate brewers, 2, crash sales and shite supermarkets, 3, dictorial Nanny government "for our own good" 4, ignorant policy makers. 5, frikken idiot drunks causing trouble in the high street.

    They should just go fuck the fuck off. If we were in Italy, France, or the like they'd be marching on Rome or Paris, but no... we take the rolliing pin up the pooper.


    Fuck you dave, Nick and George.

  9. Yep, a joke. Have you seen Revolutions Propaganda Protest Imperial Russian Stout? If not, get some - while you can.

  10. BM - Yup, all that sounds pretty much spot on. It's going to be great isn't it... kiss goodbye to the Belgian beer market in this country. It really feels like we're completely powerless under the might of the twats up top, that's why I felt the need for a big ol rant. I hope you'll be joining me in raising a glass of your finest strong beer Sept 30th!

    Leigh - I'll be trying to get some, that is if Dean hasn't drunk it all in Foleys...

    Thanks Rabid & Dave.

  11. Ghostie - nice post, and heartfelt sentiments. I have to say that like beermerchants, I've been looking at the figures and wondering if the Belgian beer market will ever be the same again. I don't have the figures to hand, but I think for the strongest beers (Rochefort 10 and up), you'll be looking at an increase of 50p a bottle at retail.

  12. The additional duty and VAT on a 330ml bottle of Duvel at 8.5% ABV will be 16p. Taken in isolation that may not seem too catastrophic, but it will be a further deterrent to stocking and buying beers of that strength. And the worry is that, having established the principle, the threshold will be reduced in future.