TAXES ‘TOO HIGH’ FOR LOW-ALCOHOL BEER

Almost half of 1,141 New Zealanders recently surveyed by Horizon Research Limited believe that an increased consumption of low-alcohol beer could bring public health benefits, including a reduction in public disorder (47 percent) and overall consumption (41 percent), along with lower rates of drink-driving (43 percent).

Compared to Australia, low-alcohol beer consumption is still low in New Zealand, at around 4 percent of total beer, but the time is ripe for a change in mindset.
“The brewing industry has made significant progress on improving the taste and range of these beers, and it needs to look at how it can further stimulate more innovation in brewing,” said Katherine Rich, chief executive, FGC. However, she added, excise taxes might pose a hurdle.

“It’s way out of alignment with taxes in Australia and the UK. When it’s nigh on impossible to over-consume low-alcohol beers to the point of drunkenness, it’s hard to justify the levying of such high taxes on them. Reducing the tax will encourage more brewers to develop new offerings,” Rich said.