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A tax cut for boutique breweries is not expected to translate into cheaper craft beer for consumers.
Small brewery owners are already indicating the tax break will not be passed on to craft beer lovers, instead going towards quality control hiring and training for staff.
Treasurer Scott Morrison announced the lower excise applied to 50-litre kegs will also be applied to the smaller kegs that are widely-used by Australian craft brewers, a measure that is being introduced as part of the federal budget on Tuesday.
“The treasurer has come out and said that this should mean cheaper beer. It really won’t mean cheaper beer.”
While considered a step towards a level playing field with their bigger counterparts, craft brewery owners are disappointed with the way that the legislation has been portrayed by Mr Morrison who said that it would raise the likelihood of cheaper beer.
Batch Brewing Company in Marrickville's Christopher Sidwa said the tax rebate was a fantastic success all round, dialogue was occurring, people were listening, things were changing.
"The only disappointment is that the treasurer has come out and said that this should mean cheaper beer. It really won’t mean cheaper beer," Mr Sidwa said.
The bigger the brewery is, the less of an impact per schooner this has. The smaller the brewery is, the more they need that money to better quality control, training for staff and hiring new staff, and keeping everybody operating more efficiently and safely,” he said.
The reform will allow small brewers to have access to the same system of excise refunds that is currently available to bigger breweries.
Federal Labor MP Anthony Albanese MP, said the announcement was a “great victory” for the 380 craft brewers in Australia.
“Increasing the rebate from $30,000 to $100,000 will make an enormous difference. It means that these employers can employ more local people, and ensure that [the industry] grows,” Mr Albanese said.
He also argued that craft beer prices could drop in the future, thanks to the reform.
“In the long run, what will happen is if you have businesses that are on a more solid financial footing, they’ll be able to sell their beer at a lesser rate,” he said.
“In our case, we sell about a million schooners per year, so we’re talking about a 14 cent difference per glass,” Mr Sidwa said.
Jack Mahony, a consumer of craft beer, said, “it’s quite a bit more expensive so I don’t have it all the time, but if it was a lot cheaper, then I would, definitely.”