Chancellor urged to call time on beer escalator

Keith Bott, Managing Director, Titanic Brewery

A leading brewer has written to Staffordshire MPs urging them to back calls for Chancellor George Osborne to freeze beer duty. 

Keith Bott, Managing Director of Titanic Brewery and Chairman of the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), is calling on the Chancellor to ditch the controversial beer duty escalator. 

A rise in duty in the Budget on March 21 would mean duty on beer will have risen by 42 percent in just four years. 

Stoke-on-Trent based Titanic Brewery wants the local MPs to show their support for the local beer and pub trade by signing up to a Parliamentary motion, EDM 2785, or by writing to the Treasury urging them to recognise the unfairness of the duty escalator.

 The motion follows the publication of a new report last week showing the huge impact that brewing and pubs has on the local economy (see below), and supports a wide campaign led by the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), to freeze beer duty and scrap the controversial beer duty escalator. 

Keith said: “With 300,000 young people employed in the industry (1 in 12 of 16-24 year olds in employment), it is clear that with the right policies in place, pubs could be an engine for growth and create new jobs for young people. 

“The Government must now call time on this unfair policy which is destroying jobs in a traditional British industry.” 

Titanic Brewery has six pubs in North and Mid Staffordshire – an area covering the constituencies of MPs Karen Bradley (Staffordshire Moorlands), Bill Cash (Stone), Joan Walley (Stoke-on-Trent North), Tristram Hunt (Stoke Central) and Jeremy Lefroy (Stafford). 

Added Keith: “Titanic Brewery’s beer is drunk across the UK but we are also great supporters of the British pub and its place in the community and have worked to rescue and refurbish several Staffordshire pubs such as the Roebuck, Leek, the Sun Inn, Stafford, and the White Star, Stoke, in recent years. 

“The beer escalator penalises people who want to go to their local for a pint of traditionally produced beer in a friendly, safe and supervised environment. 

“I believe it also encourages some people to drink strong alcohol in large measures in their own home, which has implications for personal health and spending on the NHS. 

“There are growing concerns with some younger drinkers who are in the habit of preloading with cheap supermarket cider and spirits before heading off for a night on the town. 

“We need the Chancellor to stop the beer tax escalator to ensure a strong brewing industry which provides local beer and local jobs for local people.” 

“The current Government policy is counterproductive, as it is shutting down pubs, and costing jobs. Instead, we could be creating jobs, and helping to lead the country out of recession – as well as ensuring that much loved local pubs can prosper.”  

Titanic Brewery employs 150 people in its Burslem brewery and pubs across Staffordshire. 

Staffordshire residents are urged to sign the Parliamentary petition here: 


For further information contact Keith or Dave Bott on 01782 823447 

Notes to editors:

The Early Day Motion asks:

“That this House notes that beer and pubs contribute £21 billion to UK GDP and supports almost 1 million jobs, almost half of them for 16 to 24 year olds; acknowledges that brewing is one of British manufacturing’s success stories; believes that 2012 as a year of national celebrations is the perfect time to recognise the economic and social value of Great British beer and pub industry; and so urges the Government to listen to consumer and industry groups, including the British Beer and Pub Association, the Society of Independent Brewers Association and the Campaign for Real Ale, who have united to call on the Chancellor to support Britain’s beer and pub sector by suspending the beer duty escalator to help reduce pub closures, create 5,000 additional jobs and ensure pub going remains an affordable leisure activity.”

The beer story – facts on tap, a summary outlining the case for a freeze in duty published jointly by the BBPA, SIBA and CAMRA, is available on the BBPA website here.  

Full details showing the employment and economic contribution of the beer and pub industry in every Parliamentary constituency are available from the British Beer & Pub Association website here.

For further information about Titanic Brewery and its award winning beers visit the company’s website at  Titanic Brewery was founded in Burslem in 1985 and has grown to produce more than 2.3 million pints of fine ale every year. It is owned by Stafford born brothers Keith and Dave Bott. Keith is Chairman of SIBA, the society of independent brewers. The brewery name is in recognition of Stoke-on-Trent as the birthplace of Captain Edward Smith, Master of the ill fated Titanic ocean liner. 

The Titanic fleet –

The Bulls Head, St John’s Square, Burslem

The Greyhound, George Street, Newcastle-under-Lyme

The White Star, Kingsway, Stoke

The Royal Exchange, Radford Street, Stone.

The Sun Inn, Lichfield Street, Stafford.

The Roebuck, Derby Street, Leek.