Save New Zealand's Craft Breweries

Luke Nicholas

Luke Nicholas is a New Zealand based beer expert. Creator of the website RealBeer, previously head brewer of the Cock & Bull's beers, owner of Epic Brewing Company and Epic Pale Ale, international beer judge, industry commentator, founding president of SOBA, and vice president of the Brewers Guild of New Zealand.

Sweeping changes to the way alcohol is bought and consumed in New Zealand could be enshrined into legislation if recommendations by the Law Commission are taken up by the Government. Proposed changes included increasing the price of alcohol. Commission president Sir Geoffrey Palmer outlined some of the preferred policy options it would be releasing for the public to make submissions on, in a speech at a Nelson pub recently. One of the issues tagged ‘for later discussion’ was the substantial gap between the taxes the country received from alcohol purchases, $ 795 million, and the estimated social cost of harmful misuse of alcohol of $ 5.296 billion.

Glow by ashe-villain."It does seem to me that the taxpayer should not be asked to shoulder as much of the burden as is currently being met from public funds," Sir Geoffrey said. "It does seem that the case for increasing the price of alcohol to ensure drinkers contribute more to the costs imposed on society is persuasive." He suggested increasing the excise tax would be appropriate.

Nelson’s The Free House pub, which specialises in the sale and promotion of craft beers in a socially responsible environment, has launched a national petition in response to The Law Commission.

“Sir Geoffrey Palmer’s solution to New Zealand’s binge-drinking problem seems to be raising the price of alcohol for everyone,” says Free House co-owner Mic Dover. “The Free House rejects this simplistic approach. Our online petition argues that a 'one size fits all' increase in taxation will have a disastrous effect on New Zealand's boutique breweries - and that these brewers are the ones we should be rewarding - not penalising.”

“Why? Because small boutique and craft breweries emphasise taste, flavour and create environments that encourage sensible and responsible drinking, whereas the Big Two brewers (DB and Lion Nathan - both foreign-owned) discount their beers to gain market share. They tend to target their advertising towards young people and encourage buying decisions made on the basis of price - bang per buck - not beer quality.”

The Free House is promising to lobby MPs and other supporters of great New Zealand craft beers to give tax breaks to small Kiwi-owned brewers. The petition states the following:

Sign our petition if you want New Zealand's craft brewers to survive!

We, the undersigned, call on the New Zealand government not to endanger the survival of the country's fledgling craft beer industry with a 'one size fits all' tax hike. On the contrary we urge the government to follow the UK, the US and Australia in considering tax breaks for small, independent craft breweries.

Sign the petition

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  • john says
    i like home brews have tried to do some brews my self it was fun
  • Ryan says
    If they increase The price it will mean that people will just buy the cheap Beer made by foreign owned breweries. The independent breweries whill die out.
  • Catwoman says
    I definitely support boutique and microbreweries not having to pay more tax. They're more interested in producing great brews for people that appreciate great tasting beer.

    They're not have the marketing budget like the big beer brewers who promote drinking as some ultra cool activity for young people, or that drinking beer is an activity that all good blokes will go to any expense for - like Tui advertises.

    Boutique breweries don't encourage drinking to excess, it's all about the brews. Where will it stop? I brew beer at home. I made real apple cider last year too. This year I've got a syrah & voignier wine mellowing at home. Will they start deciding to charge me more tax too if home brewing takes off in the economic downturn?

    Target the big guys for taxes, it's their beer people are getting sloshed on, or cheap & nasty crap from overseas. Leave the little guys alone.
  • collin says
    Yes some of the home brews have been wonderful too taste,I love the liquiers very nice indeed!To all who enjoy that extra taste and differnce in their life give home brew a try!
  • Aidan says
    craft breweries are the ones that need the attention, they are so small in comparisson to such as the DB and Lion Nathan, both of which have more money to spare unlike quite a few of the craft breweries around, who are willing for the sake of tremendously good brews, sacrifice their profits to truly invest in higher quality products. something for which i am very grateful! the government needs to understand that craft breweries do seriously need a break, especially considering most (if not all) are independant companies that dont have the financial backup that other non-craft breweries do have.
  • Raymond says
    If they increase The price it will mean that people will just buy the cheap Beer made by foreign owned breweries. And Tasty Like shit The independent breweries will die out.
  • New Member says
    One of the issues tagged ‘for later discussion’ was the substantial gap between the taxes the country received from alcohol purchases, $ 795 million, and the estimated social cost of harmful misuse of alcohol of $ 5.296 billion.

    This statement is false. Estimated cost of 5.296 billion is made up and statisticians from every corner of New Zealand should weigh in. Sir Geoffrey Palmer should be audited immediately to see how much money he is receiving from the big two foreign owned brewers. He is a CROOK and should be sent back to the country from which he came, he does not represent the business owners of New Zealand and instead mimics American Politicians and does what his biggest donators tell him to do.
  • New Member says
    I now see that he was born in Nelson but his education at the University of Chicago law school makes him a person who makes laws that he can profit from. Foreign companies making the equivalent to bud light in a country like New Zealand is like companies being given tax breaks for making wine from sugar, grape flavoring and tap water. This has to stop. He is a corporatist, he bows to corporations which give him money.

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