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There’s A Beer For That Takes on High Beer Duty

Following a strategic review of the major issues facing the beer and pub sector over the next few years, the cross-industry consumer campaign, There’s A Beer For That, is evolving into a new campaign with a revised emphasis to address one of the trades most urgent threats. 

The new campaign will consist of consumer and trade facing initiatives that highlight the many positive aspects of beer and pubs, and raise awareness of the threats facing our traditional British way of life as a result of planned year on year beer duty increases. It will galvanise beer drinkers, pub goers and industry staff in record numbers, to protect their way of life and lobby their MP. The industry will continue to work together and fund the programme, following the successful model created by ‘There’s A Beer For That’. 

The campaign’s singular mission will be to stop the devastating impact of high beer duty because, despite a tax freeze in the most recent Autumn budget, the level remains prohibitively high. There are fears that unless action is taken now, year on year increases could make the traditional beer with family and friends in a local pub only affordable for a privileged few, leading to lower sales, more pub closures and loss of jobs. 

There are 900,000 people who rely on the industry for work, 46% of which are young people.  Nationally, the sector adds nearly £23 billion to the economy, paying £13 billion in taxation.   Following a period of four years in which the Chancellor either cut or froze beer duty, the return to a retail prices index-linked rise in last March’s Budget was disappointing and existing levels of taxation are not sustainable.    

Announcing the change in direction, David Cunningham, Programme Director of There’s A Beer For That said “Since its launch in 2014, the campaign has been successful in reigniting Britain’s love of beer by promoting the quality, diversity and versatility of beer. It has reached an audience of over  50M people through an integrated multi-channel campaign including TV, posters, press, events, festivals, social and digital and activation in the on and off trade, gaining nationwide support, recognition and awards along the way. As a result, all key image scores for beer quality, diversity and versatility have improved significantly over the last four years.    

“We have continued to review and challenge the strategic direction taken to ensure that the campaign remains relevant for consumers and for the industry” added Cunningham.  “In our recent strategic review, we assessed the key issues identified when the campaign began and found they are no longer the major barriers to beer and pub growth. Four years on, the beer category is more vibrant and in better health.  This is due to the renaissance the beer category has experienced over the last few years, helped by the campaign and driven by the whole industry getting people to think differently about beer.” 

One of the biggest challenges facing the beer and pub industry right now is the negative impact on consumers and retailers that high duty is having on beer prices, with recent RPI (and other) increases having a projected cumulative cost impact of £430 million by 2020.  Whilst exact details of the new campaign are still to be finalised, it is expected to focus on two key messages. Firstly, it will promote the positive multi-faceted story of beer and pubs and secondly it will raise awareness of the threat facing the great British tradition of having a beer with family and friends in the local pub as well as the negative impact this could have, in a post Brexit Britain, on pubs, jobs, the economy, society and the sense of community.  

Commenting further on the change in emphasis, David Cunningham said “As an industry we should be proud of what we’ve achieved with There’s A Beer For That. No other industry-wide collaboration in any other category or country has delivered such a sustained, exciting, multi-channel and effective campaign for the length of time that we have. I’d like to thank everyone who’s been involved in making this happen. There’s A Beer For That has demonstrated the power of working together and promoting a category wide message. We will continue with the same industry wide collaborative approach to develop and deliver a new campaign building on the BBPA and other industry bodies’ successful ‘cut beer duty’ campaigns but significantly up-weighting the focus and investment behind the consumer and trade initiatives. This will not only increase awareness but also drive real change in consumer and industry staff attitude and behaviour towards the impact of ever increasing duty on prices of beer in pubs. 

“It is right that we react to the changing issues and threats the industry faces and, having reviewed the campaign objectives in the context of the historic and future planned duty increases that have devastated the beer and pub industry, we must turn our attention to addressing these threats. All campaigns need to change & adapt to the changing needs of consumers and the industry. I’m proud that There’s A Beer For That has delivered such impressive results and proven that the industry is better off working together collaboratively to tackle category wide challenges. This gives us an excellent foundation to combine the resource, expertise and learning from the campaign together with the strength of previous lobbying activity from BBPA and its partners, which will allow us to create something new, exciting and highly impactful. Working with all trade bodies and the wider community, we will create a strong communication platform to raise awareness of the great economic and social benefits the beer and pub industry brings and give it the credit that our European counterparts give their hospitality businesses.”