Arran Brewery calls on Treasury to help small brewers

Arran's Gerald Michaluk called for support for small breweries. Picture: Contributed
Arran's Gerald Michaluk called for support for small breweries. Picture: Contributed
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ARRAN Brewery managing director Gerald Michaluk is to lobby Chancellor George 
Osborne to give more help to Britain’s thriving beer companies.

Micro-breweries that produce less than 500,000 litres of beer a year pay only 50 per cent duty under the small brewers’ relief introduced in 2003 by Chancellor Gordon Brown.

Michaluk, who is one of the Scottish council members for the Society of Independent Brewers (Siba), wants exports to be excluded from the 500,000-litre quota, which he says would allow him to sell an extra 2.2 million bottles of his Arran Blonde beer each year.

He said: “There are more than 1,000 craft breweries in the UK and, if we could all export our beers without incurring a duty penalty, it would give exports a boost with no penalty to the Treasury. A win-win situation.

“I will be writing to the Chancellor, Mr Osborne, and asking him to consider this idea.”

Julian Grocock, Siba’s chief executive, said: “I see nothing controversial or anything illogical in what he’s asking for. When you produce beer for export you pay duty at the destination country’s rate. So to say 500,000 litres for the UK market should be the threshold makes perfect sense.”

A spokeswoman for the Treasury explained that the rules governing the small brewers’ relief were set by the European Union’s brewing directive.

Michaluk vowed to take his fight to Europe if necessary. He added: “The biggest overseas market for European beers is the United States, so it would make sense to change the rules at a European level so we all benefit.”