British beer exports increased by 6% in 2016, according to figures released by HMRC, buoyed by a 500% increase in exports to China, according to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA).
The BBPA is calling for a 1 pence cut in beer duties ahead of the 2017 spring budget
Exports to India also rose by 417% and exports to the EU by 5%, with overall exports to non-EU nations rising by 6%.
With a value of £584 million, an increase of £84m on 2015, a total of 1.05 billion pints of beer were exported from the UK in 2016, making British beer the UK’s third most valuable food and drink export.
Currently, 63% of Britain’s beer exports go to the European Union, with the remaining 37% exported to countries outside of the EU.
Off the back of such growth the BBPA is calling upon the UK government to make further tax cuts to beer to foster further export growth.
Last year the chancellor froze duty on beer and spirits, and lifted a freeze on wine duty, first imposed in 2015 following the WSTA’s ‘Drop the Duty’ campaign.
However in the autumn statement, the chancellor unusually made no mention of wine, beer or spirits, implying that alcohol duties will not rise until at least the next Budget statement in spring 2017, with wine expected to, at the very least, rise with inflation. Ahead of the spring statement this week, the BBPA is calling for the chancellor to make a cut of 1 pence to beer duty and cancel the planned inflationary increase in beer duty, while the WSTA and Scotch Whisky Association have both called for a 2% cut to wine and spirits duties.
“It has been a great year for British beer exports, but we can certainly do more,” said Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the BBPA.
“Continuing tariff-free access to our biggest market is essential as we leave the European Union, and our new export strategy will underline this. In addition, our strategy will set Brexit as an opportunity for Government to move towards a more competitive tax regime, which will help brewers invest and trade in developing markets around the world.
“It is vital, that given these challenges, the Government shows its support for our brewing industry, which produces beers that are sought after the world over. This is why we are calling on the Chancellor to cut the duty rate by one penny in the Budget on 8th March.”