British Beer and Pub Association

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Alcohol badge.jpg This article is part of the Spinwatch public health oriented Alcohol Portal project.

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) is among the leading representatives of the UK alcohol industry. Their membership accounts for 98 per cent of all British brewed beer and more than half of all pubs in the country. It is the parent organisation of the Scottish Beer and Pub Association.

BBPA launched a campaign against tax increases on beer arguing that the industry is 'burdened with an unfair tax regime'. They claim that the Scottish ban on smoking in public places, with England and Wales set to follow, means that the industry needs a tax freeze to 'ease in' the changes. The press release issued by the BBPA after the 2007 budget increase carried the headline 'Brown Batters Beer'. [1]


In 2006 the BBPA published an 'alcohol statistics handbook' which again reiterates their call for a tax amnesty:

"The UK Government continues to enjoy very healthy tax revenues from the alcohol sector, with income from excise duties and VAT reaching nearly £14 billion in 2005/2006. Taxes on Britain's beer alone raised £6 billion. On a 'pence-per-pint' basis across the European Union, UK beer is out-taxed only in Finland and Ireland, and is over three times the EU average. Even in high tax Sweden, duty rates don't exceed those in the UK. On the final price of a typical British pint, taxes account for 31 per cent".

Other claims made are that alcohol consumption in the UK is falling, despite beer remaining the UK's favourite drink, accounting for 43 per cent of the market. They are also keen to emphasise that Britons still drink less alcohol per head than most other European countries. The handbook provides data to show that 11 European countries across western and central Europe drink more alcohol than the British - including the French, Germans, and Spanish. [2]

BBPA recently defended the industry from more unwanted attention from public health groups. The newly formed Alcohol Health Alliance is calling for the introduction of measures to respond to growing levels of alcohol related harm in the UK, including higher taxation, and an alcohol advertising ban before the 9pm watershed. Despite these measures being regarded by many as not going far enough the BBPA's Mark Hastings responded by saying:

Given their objectives, the measures proposed by the Alcohol Health Alliance would increase the burden on taxpayers, further restrict personal freedoms and limit consumer choice and, at the same time, have no impact on alcohol misuse. They may also make the situation worse by encouraging an illicit trade in alcohol through bootleggers.' [3]

The argument that increasing the duty paid on alcohol will increase bootlegging and further endanger the public is a common industry position which can be heard coming from groups such as The Portman Group and the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group.






  1. BBPA Web Site BBPA About Us Accessed March 2007
  2. BBPA Web Site New stats handbook shows the latest trends in UK drinks' industry Accessed March 2007
  3. Denis Campbell, The Observer, November 11th 2007 Call for price of drink to double to cut bingeing Last accessed December 17th 2007
  4. Hanover Communications profile 2016, Register of consultant lobbyists, accessed 25 April 2016
  5. PPS Group profile 2015, Register of consultant lobbyists, accessed 5 February 2016
  6. FAME Company Report S&N Accessed April 2007 subscription required