E-Malt. E-Malt.com News article: Australia: Australian drinkers facing another significant rise in beer prices this week

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E-Malt.com News article: Australia: Australian drinkers facing another significant rise in beer prices this week
Brewery news

Australian drinkers are facing another significant rise in beer prices this week, as a twice-yearly federal tax comes into effect, ABC reported on January 28.

The tax on beer will have jumped by about 8 per cent in the past six months a record increase and "the largest in over 30 years", according to the Brewers Association of Australia.

The long-standing tax on beer is tied to inflation, and with the Consumer Price Index jumping 7.8 per cent over the year to December, it means a big jump in the price of beer.

The cost of draught and packaged beer will rise by 3.7 per cent from Wednesday, February 1, on top of last August's increase of 4 per cent.

Regional NSW publican Alistair Flower said it was getting harder for people to share a beer at their local.

"We don't think it should be seen as a luxury to come to your local and have a beer in the front bar," he said.

"With the prices they are getting to, it is looking like that.

"After COVID, the one thing we wanted to do was come back to the local and have a beer and that's becoming harder and harder for people as time goes on."

Mr Flower, who is the managing director of Flower Hotels at Port Macquarie, said despite reports the price of a schooner could reach $12 in some areas, he did not expect local prices to be that high just yet.

"In regional areas we aren't getting up to A$12, in regional areas like Port Macquarie beer prices can range between A$7 and A$8.50... but who knows, in a couple of years' time we will get there and it's very hard for local people to pay that," he said.

"This is another hit for us cost of living is certainly going up and it's making it very challenging we have things like power bills going up and produce being very expensive, and it's very hard to run a business."

Port Macquarie bar patron Paul Walsh said it was certainly becoming less affordable to enjoy a social beer.

"I think you understand prices can go up on your variables with floods and everything," he said.

"Taxes on beer, it's sort of a bit un-Australian isn't it, to put it up when everyone is doing it a bit tough."

Port Macquarie bartender Michael Fenney said pubs and clubs in regional areas were already feeling the impact of rising prices.

"Over the past year punters and customers have been leaning away from the venue due to the price of the beers," he said.

Brewers Association of Australia chief executive John Preston said the impact of cumulative beer price increases was taking a toll.

"If we keep going with these tax increases, we are looking at the A$15 pint," he said.

Prices at the bottle shop are also going up. A slab of beer is set to cost about A$1.50 more, meaning people will pay about A$20 in tax for every case.

The Brewers Association wants a two-year tax freeze on beer sold in bottlos and the excise on tap beer halved in the May budget.

"Australia has the fourth highest beer tax in the world and that's really hurting our hospitality sector," Mr Preston said.

"We have asked the government just to take some moderate steps to reduce that burden and provide a bit of relief to beer drinkers."

Shadow Health Minister Anne Ruston agreed.

"With cost-of-living pressures biting to be able to grab a beer at the pub and relax is a fundamental right ... last thing we need to see is increasing the price of goods," she said.

Sydney brewery manager Adam Van Den Bok said the government needed to consider changes.

"There are a lot of owner operators in this business as well so I feel we are getting hit hard twice a year," he said.

"I think some of that should be offset against things that aren't being taxed yet.

"The last thing we want is for people to come in and see our price and say, 'not anymore'."

31 January, 2023

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