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BBPA welcomes proposed extension of the low alcohol threshold by the European Commission

The BBPA has welcomed the proposal by the European Commission to extend the threshold for low alcohol beers that can benefit from reduced duty rates from 2.8% ABV to 3.5% ABV. The proposal comes after detailed work from the BBPA and support from the British Government.

With evidence from Drinkaware suggesting that a significant proportion of consumers seek out lower strength options as a way of moderating their alcohol consumption, theextension of the threshold would help grow the lower strength market, creating an incentive for significant investment and innovation in the category. The European Commission currently defines low strength beer for tax purposes as below 2.8% ABV. As a result, the Government introduced a lower tax on 2.8% ABV or less beers in 2011.

The BBPA has long supported the extension of the low alcohol threshold and will push the European Parliament to adopt these latest proposals from the European Commission.

BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds comments: “Whilst it is possible to produce some great beers at 2.8% ABV, there is much more potential to grow the market for lower strength beers if the threshold is increased to 3.5% ABV. Under the complications of the European Structures Directive, the UK system of taxing beer by ABV is a real disadvantage for producers and reduces consumer choice.

“I very much welcome the proposed extension of the low alcohol threshold by the European Commission and will push for parliament to adopt it, which should boost investment and innovation in the industry for low and no alcohol beers­­­­ that are a great way to enjoy sensible drinking whilst supporting your local pub.”