Our Achievements

Our work as the leading trade association for beer and pubs in Britain is delivering real value.

2013 – First Duty Cut for 40 years – turned an expected 5.2% increase into a 2% decrease.  Saved the industry in excess of £200 million per year going forward

2014 – Second and unprecedented duty cut, never before had there been two duty cuts in consecutive years.  Expecting a 2.8% increase and achieved a 2% decrease, which saved £150 million per annum.

2015 – A ‘hat trick’; third duty cut in March 2015.  Cumulative savings for three cuts in excess of £600 million, which equates to £23 per barrel per annum less than before the escalator was abolished.  Set against member subscriptions, this represented a phenomenal return on investment. Analysis of 2014 figures showed the first growth in beer sales for a decade.

2016 – Achieved a freeze which had to be seen as an achievement in a Budget following the General Election.  Combining the last four Budgets, the industry paid £2 billion less in beer duty than it would have done under the previous regime with a beer duty escalator.

2017 – Very disappointing start when beer duty was raised by 3.9% in the March Budget.  It cost the industry £130 million.  There is no beer duty escalator, but RPI increases written into the public finances and high inflation, following the decision to leave the EU, leaves the industry fighting with one hand tied behind its back.  A huge effort was made with partners and member companies in preparation for the November Budget, with the result of a freeze.  This saved the industry £117 million a year and future increases will come into effect on 1st February; in reality a 15 month breathing space.

2018 – The summer of 2018 was the launch of the Long Live the Local campaign. A concerted effort from publicans and the brewing industry which saw over 100,000 people sign a petition calling for a cut in beer tax and almost 50,000 people email their MP asking them to support the campaign. Despite a challenging economic climate and the uncertainty of Brexit, the Chancellor listened to the campaign and froze beer duty in the Autumn Budget. This saved the industry over £100m, helping to keep a pint in the pub affordable for consumers.

Furthermore, in the 2018 Autumn Budget, the Chancellor announced a long-overdue review of Small Brewers Relief. The scheme has operated unchanged since 2003 and needs to be updated to take into account the substantial change in the beer market since then.

Duty Fraud: we previously led a major campaign against the introduction of Fiscal tax stamps on beer cans and bottles.  Included legal opinion, KPMG report, publication of a booklet;  an Inquiry by the Parliamentary Beer Group and the mobilisation of national brewing associations around Europe.  The Government’s decision to work collaboratively with the industry, rather than introducing fiscal marks, saved the industry major disruption and upwards of £35 million a year.  A new Wholesaler Registration Scheme became fully operational in 2017 and a good relationship with HMRC led to progress on electronic payments of duty and simplification of administration which benefit brewers.

Late Night Levy: The introduction of a late night levy is clearly a tax, but we did gain concessions. Through our work contributors to local BIDs gained an exemption from the Late Night Levy and there is now a 30% reduction for those in partnership schemes like Pubwatch and Best Bar None.

Licence Fees: We persuaded the Government to retract proposed changes to Premises Licence fees and move away from rateable value. The proposed increases would have meant fees for most pubs (which fall into rateable band B) would have gone up by 311% (band A would have been 957%). Proposed increases for TENs (Temporary Event Notice) would have increased from £21 to £100. The cost to one individual company would have been £27,000 alone.

Personal Licences:  We worked to change the mind of the Government, who proposed to remove the requirement for Personal Licences. The acceptable and responsible solution for industry was to keep the Personal Licence, but remove the requirement to renew them every five years.

Music Deregulation: We worked hard to support the Private Members Bill to allow live music in pubs without the need for a licence, up until 11pm for a maximum of 250 people (subsequently increased to 500).

Primary Authority: We have long supported the Primary Authority Scheme, which achieves national consistency of enforcement through the nomination of one local authority as your primary authority. We played a key role in persuading the Government to amend the scheme to allow trade associations to become Primary Authorities in their own right. To further strengthen relevant guidance, we have established a relationship with Northamptonshire Council to become our Primary Authority partner on trading standards and are currently setting up a new relationship with Cornwall Council for food hygiene.

Extended Hours:  When the Licensing Act 2003 was introduced there was provision for extended hours for events of national importance. We have now achieved this for the Royal Weddings  in 2011 and 2018, the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 and Her Majesty’s 90th Birthday in 2016. Extended hours have an estimated boost to the pub trade of £40 million. It also saves £740,000 for the trade who would otherwise have to pay £21 for each Temporary Event Notice.

Climate Change: We successfully negotiated a new Climate Change Agreement, which will save the brewing sector over £40 million over the course of the scheme. We also work closely with WRAP on energy and waste reduction.

Packaging and Recovery Notes (PRNs): The cost of PRNs (a type of document that provides evidence waste packaging material has been recycled into a new product) for glass increased by 632% from £9 a tonne in 2011 to £65.92 in 2013. We convinced the Government that the overall target for glass was too high and the target for collection was reduced from 81% to 75% in 2014. The savings for the beer and pub sector are estimated to be upwards of £15 million per year.

SUSTAIN: Our work on PRNs identified a growth in compliance companies who were neither transparent with their costs or clear that their charges were not increased to fuel their own expansion. This led to us establishing a not-for-profit packaging compliance company called SUSTAIN. A mid-term review in 2015 showed the scheme as a market leader with savings of over 20% for most materials compared with other schemes. In 2016, membership of SUSTAIN increased to around 30 companies and saved the industry some £258,000 on top of similar savings in 2015.

ESOS: The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) requires all large businesses in the UK to undertake mandatory assessments looking at energy use and energy efficiency opportunities at least once every four years. When this was introduced we arranged a collective agreement that saved our members costs and ensured consistency.

By working closely with our members we produce a wide range of insights and data on the British beer and pub sectors. Our Sales Volume Survey provides a monthly measure of beer trends to subscribers, whilst our Annual Barrelage Survey provides a definitive picture of the UK beer market.

We also offer data and insights through our Statistical Handbook, which is published each year and is renowned for its quality, presentation and accuracy. This is provided to our members for free, but is also available for sale in our shop.

Beyond this, we produce ad hoc reports and papers for the industry, including the Cost Guide and Benchmarking report, the Local Impact Report and UK Alcohol Trends report.

As exports became increasingly important to the UK economy, we have worked with DEFRA, DIT and others to help members export more. Beer exports have risen from £570 million in 2012 to £683 million in 2017. Exports to countries outside the EU have risen 34% since 2008. The BBPA export group have engaged with Government to showcase beer at international events and inward missions with outreach from Berlin to Slovenia, China and Geneva.

Our second and stand-alone export strategy was launched with Ministerial support from DEFRA in November 2017. This included a new export hub on our website and a brand showcase.

We worked with Number 10 and VisitBritain to back a ‘Pubs Are GREAT’ and ‘Heritage is GREAT’ campaign that showcased British beer. The campaign has featured around the world and now visiting a British pub is third on the list of things to do for overseas tourists coming to the UK.

Business Rates: We launched a campaign in 2014 which achieved the extension of Small Business Rate Relief to April 2015. That Autumn the then Chancellor referred specifically to community pubs when he reduced business rates for retail properties by £1,000 for two years. In 2016 the Small Business Rate Relief scheme was increased so it covered all pubs with a rateable value of up to £15,000.

In 2016, we worked with the Revaluation Office and specialist surveyors on a new Pubs Guide for Revaluation. With the support of Government, it increased discounts for food and other activities. Whilst there is room for greater improvement it was hailed at the time as the best guide for the past 20 years.

In the March Budget of 2017, pubs were offered specific help on business rates – any pub with an RV of less than £100k received a £1,000 discount. It was worth £30 million to the industry and was extended for a second year in the Budget of November 2017. Although the pub-specific support was removed in the 2018 Budget it was replaced with a one third reduction in the rates bill of pubs with a rateable value of less than £51,000. This reduction is worth up to £8,000 for qualifying pubs.

Planning: Delays in obtaining planning permission are costly, be it for developing or refurbishing a brewery or pub. There is considerable interest from local authorities though who keen to keep local pubs. Considering this, we worked with the Government to support the introduction of ‘Assets of Community Value’. Although we believe that this policy now needs updating, it helps ensure that pubs can do things like increase their food offer without requiring planning permission.

Responsibility Deal: The brewing and pub sectors were very much part of the Government’s Responsibility Deal in 2011, giving pledges on alcohol labelling and taking a billion units out of the market, as well as supporting Drinkaware – the independent alcohol advice and information charity. We at the BBPA also launched a unit awareness scheme in partnership with Drinkaware. When evaluated, 37% of those questioned by Ipsos Mori claimed awareness of the units they drunk.

Serving Inebriated Customers: It is clearly against the law to serve an inebriated customer, but Home Office research showed that many consumers did not understand that you cannot buy a drink if you are inebriated, or buy a drink for someone else who is inebriated. We worked with the Home Office to develop a poster campaign explaining the law, which is available for anyone to download.

Partnership Schemes: We are very active in encouraging and helping with the governance of a range of partnership schemes. We are represented on the PASS Board, support Pubwatch, Best Bar None and Business Improvement Districts

Beer and Health: Our work focuses on addressing popular misconceptions and promoting the science that highlights the benefits associated with moderate consumption of beer as part of a balanced diet and lifestyle. Working with independent health professionals we have published reports that investigate the truths and myths associated with beer, sugar and calories, including the myth of the beer belly. Our “Health Perspective of Beer” report addresses the wider science supporting the wholesomeness and benefits of beer when consumed in moderation.  We have produced regular newsletters that highlight relevant new research and cover scientific events such as the Beer and Health Symposia.

We have four active regional associations: London & South, North West, Yorkshire and the Scottish Beer & Pub Association.

We have undertaken extensive work on Brexit with a publicly available manifesto and detailed work available for all our members. Clear priorities are employees and exports. A survey of our members showed that some 17% of employees on average came from outside the UK, but this rises to 40% in metropolitan areas and 80% in some disciplines like kitchen teams in pubs. We have worked with the Home Office to move away from talking about ‘unskilled’ workers, to ‘soft skills’ workers, which are so vital to our sector and therefore welcomed the clarity for EU citizens who will be able to apply for Settled status. We are clear that the ‘tier’ system of migration needs revision and have asked that the Youth Mobility Scheme (allowing those under the age of 25 from Commonwealth Countries to work in the UK for 2 years without counting against the migration total) be extended to the EU.

Trade talks continue, but considerable discussion with Government on the importance of the electronic movement of goods, preferential treatment currently enjoyed by EU members continuing for the UK with countries like South Korea, and stocking and promoting British beer around the world, have been well understood and received.

Employment opportunities: We promote job creation and work with the Department for Work & Pensions and Job Centre Plus to create a better understanding of the careers available in the pub and hospitality sectors.  This has included webinars and the highly successful ‘Hospitality Works’ campaigns.

National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage: A National Living Wage was introduced in 2016. Staff costs make up between 14% and 25% of operating costs in pubs. We have over many years engaged with the Low Pay Commission giving oral and written evidence to ensure that any increases to the National Minimum and Living Wages fit the economic circumstances of the industry.

Productivity: Productivity is a key economic indicator. The Government established a Productivity Leadership Group in 2016 under the leadership of Sir Charlie Mayfield. We worked with McKinsey & Co to develop a toolkit for all pubs and licensees on productivity.

Pub Chef campaigns:  In 2014, we launched a campaign to show how becoming a pub chef is a fantastic career choice for students in schools and colleges.

In 2016, we worked with Nestlé and the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group for our first Pub Chef of the Year Competition. Expecting some 30 entries, we had 127 nominations for Pub Chef and Young Pub Chef. This rose to 130 entries some two years later (2018) as we saw the completion of our second competition. There is a real shortage of pub chefs in our sector and the competition has successfully risen the profile of pub chefs and the vital role they play in Britain’s pubs.

Future High Streets: Our CEO, Brigid Simmonds, is a member of the Ministerial Group for the Future High Streets Forum and was a judge in the 2014, 2015 and Chairman of the 2016 Future High Streets competitions. The link between retail and leisure (e.g. pubs) is vital to the future of the high street.

Allergens: We worked with the Food Standards Agency to develop comprehensive Primary Assured guidance to assist our members in complying with new responsibilities for declaring allergens within food in 2014. This guidance was particularly important for pubs who, along with the wider catering sector, were captured under the new responsibilities.

Product labelling: We produced over-arching Primary Assured guidance for our members on the requirements for beer labels as part of the introduction of the EU Consumer Food Information Regulations.

Energy: We have previously held a very successful energy summit and have produced guidance for all member companies and licensees on how to reduce energy costs.

London Cycle Superhighway: We worked with Transport for London as they introduced more cycle-only lanes in the City of London. Until our involvement no thought had been given to how deliveries might be made to pubs and other retail outlets as a consequence of the cycle-only lanes. Through our work a protocol was signed with all parties to find a solution.

Brewers Research and Education Fund: As a result of the sale of the original offices of the Brewers Society in central London, a trust was established to fund research that supports the brewing industry in the UK. This is now administered by the Brewers Company with whom we work to ensure that the governance of the fund is in line with best practice from the Charity Commission.

Container Security: Returnable metal kegs and casks are the legal property of the owning brewer and are vitally important to an efficient brewery and retailer. Our work in this area serves to reduce incidence of theft and misappropriation and ensure that containers that have fallen outside of the regular supply chain are not lost. We hold a regular workshop to highlight and discuss issues connected with the management of containers and which helps drive our work in this area.

Food Safety: Beer is classed as food for legislative purposes and our work and guidance in this area assists our members in complying with their regulatory responsibilities as food producers. We maintain a strong relationship with the FSA and are engaged with the EFSA to ensure that we are able to respond to issues as they arise. This helps our industry to mitigate against contaminants which may pose a threat to health and maintain the food safety credentials of beer as the nation’s favourite alcoholic beverage.

Logistics, Health and Safety: We work to support our members’ logistics activities. Most recently we have discussed and helped clarify inconsistency in enforcement of load security measures by Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) Inspectors and as a result are now working on the development of an industry approved method for securing diminishing brewery loads.