Beer excise tax is set to increase by the highest level in more than 30 years.

In 2021, New Zealanders paid $1.22 billion in alcohol excise which is to increase to $1.3 billion for 2022. An increase of $28.3 million for beer alone.

“The beer excise increase could not come at a worse time for brewers and consumers, with the effects of COVID-19 still holding sway on the economy, the cost of living squarely in focus for New Zealanders and the hospitality sector far from being back to normal,” say Brewers Association of New Zealand Executive Director, Dylan Firth and Brewers Guild Executive Director, Melanie Kees.

“At a time when New Zealanders are facing an economic crunch, the increase to beer tax is a hard one to swallow.

“One of the most important avenues for brewers is selling their product through bars and restaurants and the hospitality industry has suffered badly during the past two years and needs specific support. Yet here is the wider brewing and hospitality sector being hit with an extra $28.3 million tax,” say Firth and Kees.

“As a sector, increasing costs brought on by tax make operating in this economic environment tough. Large and small breweries are having to make difficult decisions about where to invest or where to pass on costs.

Firth and Kees say in late 2021 their organisations jointly asked for additional government support that could be delivered in a targeted way via an immediate 50% reduction on excise tax for keg beer.

“This would have provided a short sharp cost reduction on tap beer supporting the hospitality sector and when passed on for the consumer too. Again, we reaffirm our call for this action to be considered.”

“The Brewers Association and Brewers Guild of New Zealand along with Hospitality New Zealand are calling on the government to deliver beer tax relief to pubs, clubs and beer drinkers and other venues through a cut in keg beer tax.

“This will see a campaign launched next week asking for the government to step in with sector specific support around reducing keg tax.”

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