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Industry fury over claims duty freeze will help us down pints

The industry has slammed government claims that “thanks to the alcohol duty freeze” people can now guzzle beer with “no extra duty”.

In a post made by HM Treasury, shared on social media platform X on St Patrick’s Day, an image of a pint of stout emblazoned with “Alcohol Duty Frozen” also said: “Happy St Patrick’s Day. Thanks to the alcohol duty freeze being extended to 1 Feb 2025, you can now ‘split the G’ with no extra duty being charged”.

The news follows the Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt recently delivering in the Spring Budget plans to extend the alcohol duty freeze until February 2025, a move many have pointed out is not a permanent measure.

The term “split the G” is a colloquial reference to drinking the first half of a pint of Guinness until the is beer level with the G printed on the glass. The reuse of the term by the Treasury is, according to beer writer Eoghan Walsh: “The worst cringe imaginable”.

In response to the advert’s claims, commentators from across the sector also took to social media to respond with their thoughts, calling the government “delusional”.

Multiple operator Alex Reilley who owns the Loungers and Cosy Club venues requoted the advert with expletives, while publican Oisin Rogers of Soho-based pub The Devonshire, called the post “dreadful” and said: “‘Splitting the G’ is the worst thing that’s ever been invented. It’s for amateur drinkers who have no idea what they’re doing or what they’re taking about.”

Other publicans chimed in to call the government advertising “tone deaf” and “unbelievable” others went on to highlight how “a frozen tax increase is still a tax increase, only delayed” and asked “do you think the hospitality industry only works on a one year model?”

Others from across the industry reiterated how this was “another one of those things that the tories slapped extra tax and costs onto, then freeze it and say look what we’ve done for you”.

Steve Dunkley head brewer of beer Nouveau added: “Split the G? Surely this isn’t the government encouraging reckless drinking? You don’t have to down half a pint on your first sip folks!”

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