Australia’s three major brewers – Coopers, Lion and Carlton & United Breweries – have today called on the Government to make the humble pot, schooner and pint of draught beer at pubs and clubs more affordable to help stimulate Australia’s flailing economy and many struggling industries.

With 85 per cent of all beer sold in Australia being made in Australia, our vibrant beer sector is a major driver of economic activity and domestic jobs, supporting vital cogs in industry from Australian farmers upstream to brewing, packaging, distribution and freight, all the way through to retail, tourism and hospitality.

Brewers Association of Australia (BAA) Chair Peter Filipovic said COVID-19 has significantly impacted the hospitality sector, the brewing industry’s biggest customer.

“A cut, or at the very least, a freezing of excise will give hospitality businesses a chance to get back on their feet as beer is the most consumed alcoholic beverage in Australia’s licensed venues,” Mr Filipovic said.

“We need to make a beer at the pub more affordable. It is as simple as that.”

“The tax on beer has gone up twice annually for the past 35 years forcing Australians to pay the fourth highest beer tax in the industrialised world.

“This has meant beer, the drink that brings people together, is less and less affordable for everyday Australians. It’s not unusual for a single pint to cost $10 or more nowadays, whereas in the 1970s, a beer would set you back less than a dollar.”

“Aussie beer drinkers deserve a break. With the great majority of Australians drinking in moderation, now is the time to reduce taxes. Even before COVID-19 alcohol consumption in Australia was at 50-year lows.

“As we recover from COVID-19 Australians will want to return to their favourite local, however, there is a risk that COVID-19 will have caused permanent behaviour change meaning there is a reticence to gather in pubs and clubs. By cutting excise the Government has an opportunity to incentivise Australians to get out and about and support our vibrant, world leading hospitality industry,” Mr Filipovic said.

COVID-19 resulted in a significant decline in sales in the June quarter as venues closed or faced severe restrictions on trading. The hit on the industry from pubs and clubs being closed has not been made up for by retail liquor store sales.

“We have endured the total closure of the hospitality sector this year, which saw 440,000 Australians lose their jobs. While some of those jobs have returned as most governments have eased restrictions, the road to recovery for hospitality will be long and full of challenges,” Mr Filipovic said.

The Federal Government’s 2020-21 Budget comes at a critical time for Australia’s brewing and hospitality industries, which have been significantly impacted by COVID-19.

BAA urges the Government to support the Australian brewing industry and hospitality businesses by cutting beer excise, or at the very least, freezing it.

Brewers also recommend:

  • a domestic tourism package appropriately tailored to assist Australia’s hospitality sector
  • a continuation of JobKeeper
  • that government decisions, which materially impact our industry, are considered by the whole of government. To ensure this occurs across all jurisdictions, consideration should be given to the matter by the National Federation Reform Council.