The Fair Pint Campaign

News: Fair Pint expresses concerns about duty profiteering

12th May 2009

The Fair Pint campaign has expressed concerns over emerging evidence about the effect of the Chancellor’s 2% increase in beer duty. Fair Pint fear that the major pubcos are using the duty increase as a means to increase their profits at the expense of publicans and the consumer.

The announcement that the two largest managed pub chains, Mitchells & Butlers and JD Wetherspoon, and a number of smaller owners of leased estates will absorb the 2% rise in duty and will not increase their prices demonstrates that these operators have managed to use their purchasing power to prevent the beer duty increase being passed on in full.  

In contrast, the three biggest pubcos, Punch, Enterprise and Admiral have stated that they will pass the increase on in full to their tenants; despite the fact that their purchasing power is at least as good as the major managed chains.

Steve Corbett, a tied landlord and member of Fair Pint Steering Group said:

"Passing the full cost of the duty increase on to tenants when the costs of beer from brewers hasn’t increased by the same amount would seem like blatant profiteering, especially given that ‘pubcos’ are already making profits of over 80 percent on the beer they sell to their tenants.  We are therefore urging the pubcos to be open and transparent about how the beer duty increase is being passed on to them from their suppliers and how this compares to the increased prices they are charging tenants."


Notes for editors

1. Beer duty is a tax paid by brewers or importers rather than retailers and is passed on to wholesalers or retailers along with other costs.

2. Pubcos make money by charging tenants rent and by tieing their tenants to purchase beer though them at a significant mark up on the cost that the beer could be supplied direct from the brewer or purchased from a wholesaler.

3. The two largest pubcos Punch and Enterprise make profits of between 85 and 99 percent on the beer or cider they sell to their tenants.

4. Tied tenants from across the UK will be joining a lobby of Parliament on the 20th May to call for an end to the tie and the freedom to buy their beer from the suppliers they choose

5. To arrange interviews or for further information, please contact Andrew Smith or Sarah Hyder at Connect Public Affairs on 020 7222 3533 or

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