News / Whisky Deserves a (Tax) Break!

16/03/2014 Whisky Deserves a (Tax) Break!

Money Money MoneyIt’s about time I done some more opinion pieces on this blog, along with the many whisky reviews, so today I’m going to talk about Alcohol Duty.

This article on the Spirits Business website blames the slight decline in UK Scotch sales on the unfair levels of alcohol duty.

This is the UK tax payable on alcohol and which helps the government balance the books but I’m going to suggest that the way they do it is not only unfair on whisky drinkers but that I think they should do something about it.

Looking simply at the taxation in alcohol the figures make for not great reading.

At 4% ABV beer pays £4.78 per litre of pure alcohol

At 13% ABV wine pay £20.52 per litre of pure alcohol

Whisky, and other spirits and wine and wine-made alcohol over 22%, pay £28.22 per litre of pure alcohol that’s 490% more than the duty payable on beer and 38% more than the duty paid on a standard bottle of wine.

Surely there should be some consistency there and alcohol should all be charged the same rate per litre of pure alcohol?

That would be nice and the increase in duty on the others would allow for a decrease in the duty rate on spirits, but then that’s never going to happen is it.

But if beer, cider, wine and spirits are all treated differently as they are all unique and have their own individual issues then why is whisky treated the same as gin, or vodka or other spirits which can be made in a much shorter period of time?

Lets be honest the regulations surrounding whisky and It’s 3 years minimum maturation and requirement to be held in oak casks (which aren’t cheap make it certainly one of the more expensive to produce, so why is there not a tax break on whisky?

The gin and vodka producers can produce their products on a much larger scale with much less production costs and higher profit margins yet are treated as the same product.

I really cannot understand why the Scotch Whisky Association, which fights for the rights of the whisky industry, isn’t bombarding the government, both Scottish and UK parliaments, fighting for a tax break on whisky.

Interestingly I’ve been sitting on this article for over a week now, I did email the Scotch Whisky Association’s press office over a week ago asking them to comment but have had no reply at all.