As Sydney’s pub and club owners count the cost of lockdown they face even higher tax bills when they do eventually reopen after today’s beer tax hike. And pubs and beer drinkers across the country face higher beer prices with this the second tax increase this year.

The tax rate for draught beer in pubs and clubs increased on 2nd August from $36.47 to

$36.98. The rate has increased twice a year since 1983 with over 70 hikes in that time – Australians now pay the fourth highest beer tax in the developed world.

The increase brings the amount of tax that a pub owner has to pay on a keg of beer to around $70. With an average small to medium sized pub selling around 15 kegs a week this is a significant cost for venues already struggling with skills shortages and other cost increases.

The brewing industry has come out in force again and repeated its call for the rate of tax on beer sold in pubs and clubs to be halved.  CEO of the Brewers Association, John Preston, said:

“Pub and bar operators in Sydney today are focused on keeping their business

going and looking out for their staff – the last thing they should be worried about is a tax increase”.

“We believe there is an opportunity for the Government to provide a helping hand to pubs and clubs by halving the tax rate to give hospitality venues a fighting chance once things open back up.

These tax increases and other cost hikes for pubs mean that a typical schooner of beer now costs between $6.70 and $7.60 in many Sydney pubs. This one of the key factors in people increasingly choosing to drink at home rather than head out to their local pub.

The Brewers Association supports a tax cut for pubs that would help them rebuild.

For a small to medium sized pub which buys around 15 kegs a week a reduction of 50 per cent in the excise rate on draught beer would save them around $500 a week in beer tax. Each venue owner could then decide whether to use this money to entice customers back through promotions, put more staff back on or pay down debt to help them remain viable.