Craft brewers toast excise relief
LOCAL craft breweries have welcomed the financial relief in the 2018/19 federal budget that will help smaller scale beer producers.
The budget has made provisions to increase the alcohol excise refund scheme cap to $100,000 from July 1, up from $30,000.
Bright Brewery marketing manager James Davidson said the excise refund will be the biggest benefit for the ever-growing business.
“Previously we were able to claim back $30,000 on excise tax that we pay for the production of beer but with that raised to $100,00 it will essentially mean a $70,000 saving,” he said.
“It’s not only for craft brewers but the whole brewing industry, but it’s a boost to our business and will most likely get reinvested into improving our business, training staff and new equipment.”
Treasurer Scott Morrison also announced changes to tax all beer kegs the same no matter how much they hold.
Currently beer stored in 50-litre kegs is cheaper than beer stored in smaller kegs but concessional draught beer excise rates to kegs of eight litres or more will level the playing field.
Despite the changes Sweetwater Brewing Company’s Peter Hull said people shouldn’t expect to see a shift in the price of craft beer.
“I immediately put something out on our Facebook page to say it has zero impact on our business and it will be the same for many breweries,” he said.
“People shouldn’t be walking into breweries expecting schooners to be 50 cents cheaper.
“We currently put everything into 50-litre kegs but longer term it would allow us to put our beer into 20 or 30 litre kegs at no extra cost.”
Mr Hull and Mr Davidson agreed that it was exciting to see a focus on the craft beer market following lobbying by the Independent Brewers Association.
However, Mr Davidson said the excise tax breaks for the brewing industry were still a long way off that of the wine industry.
“Beer is still well behind the wine industry and beer certainly is a high labour industry that employs a lot more people than wineries do because we are year-round production,” he said.
“We’re hoping that one day that tax relief will be evened out more.”
A wine Tourism and Cellar Door grant will also be available from 2019-20, providing wine producers who exceed their wine equalisation tax rebate cap to access up to $100,000 for their cellar door sales.