Schooner prices to jump to $10

The biggest tax increase on alcohol in 30 years came into effect on Monday and it means punters could soon be forking out up to $10 for a schooner and $15 for a pint.

The drinks industry was hit with a 4% increase in the latest biannual indexation.

John Preston, CEO of the Brewers Association of Australia, said: “Australians are taxed on beer more than almost any other nation. We have seen almost 20 increases in Australia’s beer tax over the past decade alone.

“Brewers and pub and club operators were extremely disappointed the former Government did not deliver on a proposed reduction in beer tax at this year’s March Budget.  

“Sadly, we’re now seeing the impact as pub patrons will soon be faced with the prospect of regularly paying around $15 for a pint at their local.

“For a small pub, club or other venue the latest tax hike will mean an increase of more than $2700 a year in their tax bill – at a time when they are still struggling to deal with the on-going impacts of the pandemic.

“This is a problem that the new Treasurer has inherited from his predecessors and there are many competing demands on the Budget. Nonetheless, we believe there is a strong case for beer tax relief to be provided by the new Federal Government – with the hidden beer tax to go up again in February 2023.”

“We had 25 coalition MPs write to the Treasurer, supporting the draft pay tax to be halved and then it came out, so we were really disappointed that it didn‘t happen.”

The Brewers association is pleading for tax relief before the beer tax goes up again in February next year, but Treasurer Jim Chalmers will not commit to easing it. 

“We listen respectfully to ideas put to us, but having ­inherited a trillion dollars in debt, and with lots of other pressures on the budget, it’s not possible to fund every one of them,” Dr Chalmers said.

Spirits industry forced to raise prices

The price of punters’ favourite gin, whisky or rum is also about to rise after the tax increase.

This means $1 worth of tax will be added to the manufacturing cost of the average 700ml bottle of spirits. Australian craft distillers have already been forced to up their prices to cover rising costs.

Four Pillars has announced first retail price rise since 2015. its signature rare dry gin has jumped from $75 to $78, while its bloody shiraz gin, spiced negroni gin and olive leaf gin are up from $85 to $88.

Four Pillars Gin

Four Pillars co-founder Stu Gregor, who is also president of the Australian Distillers Association, told the Australian Financial Review: “We’re absolutely happy to pay our fair share of tax. This is not an industry looking to be subsidised into oblivion – we’re just looking for a fair shake.

“It’s very difficult to grow when a third of your revenue is going straight into tax.”

Spirits and Cocktails Australia chief executive Greg Hollands said the excise rise made for a “crippling double-whammy” when combined with other rising costs in the industry.

“This tax is cannibalising our industry. It has an insatiable appetite; no matter how hard our distillers and manufacturers work to grow, it keeps taking more,” Hollands said.

Angus McPherson, managing director of Diageo, added: “We have world-class products that can compete on the world stage, but the government needs to help them grow.” 

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