PHEW: Geoff Davenport, of Granite Belt Brewery, is pleased by the government's move to cut the industry some tax slack.
PHEW: Geoff Davenport, of Granite Belt Brewery, is pleased by the government's move to cut the industry some tax slack.

Government wields the axe on bizarre tax

WITH craft breweries continuing to pop up all over the country, the Federal Government has been forced to take notice and make some changes.

A peculiar beer tax that slugs craft brewers 40 per cent more for using smaller kegs has been axed while the amount companies can claim back on their excise has been substantially elevated.

It's good news for Queensland's 48 breweries - including the two in our own back yard, Brass Monkey and Granite Belt Brewery.

Granite Belt Brewery's Geoff Davenport said the change was "a gift” for producers like him.

"A lot of venues we take kegs to in Brisbane want kegs in 30L, but when you've got to pay up to 40 per cent extra tax it's less attractive to them because price has to go up accordingly.

"Any time you take money away from the tax man you're better of.

"When you compare it to what's in America - here it's more alcohol in the beer, more tax and also the size of the vessel. Where as there they have a flat rate. So the excise rebate is great for all brewers.

"It's a gift really,” Mr Davenport said.

The Independent Brewers Association, of whom Granite Belt Brewery are aligned, welcomed the news.

"This is great news for independent brewers, great news for consumers and great news for job creation,” IBA's Ben Kooyman said.

"Having the Federal Government make these changes shows that they realise what an amazing industry we have and will enable our members to expand.”

Geoff opened his brewery in 2012 and has been slowly going about his business.

He says apart from the beer tax, changing mindsets has been the other biggest hurdle.

"We've grown up with certain beers - one letter, repeated four times. We've been told before by a publican that 'we're after real beer'. Having never tried ours. We have to prove to them that it is.”

He believes the industry could go back to the little-documented glory days of craft beers.

"The whole concept of craft beer is changing.

"Stanthorpe had a brewery 100 years ago. We're trying to track down more information on it.

"But all these little places around the country had their own little breweries but slowly shut their doors or got bought up by the big guys.

He said making the industry more competitive, as the tax reform has done, is a step in the right direction.

Stanthorpe Border Post

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