Craft brew­ers toast ex­cise re­lief

Myrtleford Times - - News -

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.

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