Our Achievements

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

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 saw the launch of the Long Live the Local campaign. A concerted effort from publicans and the brewing industry saw over 100,000 sign the petition calling for a cut in beer tax, and almost 50,000 people emailed their MP asking them to support the campaign. Despite a challenging economic climate and the uncertainty of Brexit, the Chancellor listened to MPs who backed the campaign and froze beer duty. This saved the industry over £100m and helped to keep a pint in the pub affordable for consumers.

Furthermore, the we were pleased that 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: 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 BBPA did gain concessions; Contributors to local BIDs gained an exemption from the Late Night Levy and there is a 30% reduction for partnership schemes like Pubwatch and Best Bar None.

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

Personal Licences:  Worked to change the mind of 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: 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:  BBPA has long supported the Primary Authority Scheme which achieves national consistency of enforcement through the nomination of one local authority as your primary authority.  BBPA played its part 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 Wedding in 2011, the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 and Her Majesty’s 90th Birthday in 2016.  We await final Parliamentary approval, but hope to have extended hours in May 2018 to celebrate the wedding between HRH Prince Harry and Miss Meghan Markle.  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 a 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 work closely with WRAP on energy and wast reduction.

PRNs:  Packaging and Recovery Notes, the cost for glass increased from £9 a tonne in 2011, up by 632% to £65.92 in 2013.  BBPA 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 at +£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 BBPA establishing a not-for-profit packaging compliance company 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 increased to around 30 companies and saved the industry some £258,000 on top of similar savings in 2015.

ESOS:  Legislation which required companies of a certain size to collect energy data.  Arranged a collective agreement which saved members cost and ensured consistency.

By working closely with its members to understand data needs The BBPA has been able to produce a wide range of insight on the industry. The Sales Volume Survey is a monthly measure of beer trends which is well received by all members. The Annual Barrelage Survey is the definitive picture of the UK beer market and another valuable insight for members.

The Statistical handbook is renowned for its quality, presentation and accuracy. This is provided to our members and also available for sale in our shop.

The BBPA also produced ad hoc reports and papers valuable to 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 launch with Ministerial support from DEFRA in November 2017. This includes a new export hub on our website and a brand showcase.

Third on the list of things to do for overseas tourists is visit a pub and seven out of ten visit a pub whilst in the UK. BBPA worked with Number 10 and VisitBritain to back a ‘Pubs Are GREAT’ and ‘Heritage is GREAT’ (featuring beer) campaign. The images have been used around the world.

BBPA launched a campaign in 2014 which achieved the extension of Small Business Rate Relief to April 2015 and in the Autumn the Chancellor referred specifically to community pubs when he reduced business rates for retail properties by £1,000 for two years. This was raised to £1,500 in the second year. In 2016 the Small Business Rate Relief scheme was increased so it covered all pubs with a rateable value of up to £15,000. BBPA campaigned successfully for CPI to replace RPI as a successful mechanism for future increases.

In 2016, BBPA 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.

The Pub Story and subsequent versions called the Pub Under Pressure show why pubs matter, looking at growth, jobs, tourism, local economy and partnerships

Planning: Delays in obtaining planning permission are costly whether developing or refurbishing a brewery or pub. There is considerable interest from local authorities keen to keep local pubs. Working with Government, the industry supported the introduction of Assets of Community Value, although we believe that the guidance needs updating. We ensured that the subsequent changes to the Use Class Orders allowed pubs to increase their food offer without requiring planning permission, but satisfied the protection called for with change of use.

Responsibility Deal: The brewing and pub sector were very much part of the Government’s Responsibility Deal supporting pledges on alcohol labelling, a billion-unit reduction pledge and supporting Drinkaware.  Brewers removed 250 million units of alcohol through innovations in reduced strength products. We launched a unit awareness scheme in partnership with Drinkaware.  When evaluated, 37% of those questioned by Ipsos Mori claimed awareness in a pub or online.

Serving Drunks is clearly against the law, but Home Office research showed that many consumers did not understand the detail; you cannot buy a drink if you are drunk, or buy a drink for someone else who is drunk.  BBPA worked with the Home Office to develop a poster campaign explaining the law which is available for anyone to download.

Voluntary Bans on High Strength Products:  Began as part of a wider initiative against street drinkers, but led to some 95 local authorities concentrating on a restriction on higher strength products without any real understanding of the beer market.  Working with the Competition and Markets Authority to ensure any ban was proportionate and complied with competition law, we ensured that local authorities thought very carefully before introducing such a scheme.

Partnership Schemes:  The team at the BBPA are 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, by those without underlying health conditions.  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, media 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 and Yorkshire as well as the Scottish Beer & Pub Association which work hard to respond and support local economies.

BBPA has 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 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’ to ‘soft skills’ so vital to our sector and 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 (under the age of 25 from Commonwealth Countries able to work in the UK for 2 years without counting against the migration total), to be extended to the EU.

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

We have worked hard for pubs to be seen as part of tourism and hospitality and their local community.  We work closely with VisitBritain and VisitEngland.  Some 900,000 jobs are supported across our sector and BBPA engages regularly with English Tourism Week, are members of the Tourism Alliance and work hard to equip our members to retail to consumers more effectively.  From business rates to copyright, employment, food safety, gaming machines, health & safety, planning to weights and measures we have both expertise and proactive policies.

NMW and NLW:  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 increase fits the economic circumstances of the industry.  In this we have certainly made progress.

Through Future Pubs and our Pub People Group we promote job creation and engage with DWP (Job Centre Plus) to create a better understanding for their teams about working in the pub and hospitality sector.  This has included webinars and month-long campaigns.

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

Pub Chefs Passion campaign film:  In 2014, BBPA launched a campaign with a short film and social media activity to show how becoming a pub chef is a fantastic career choice for students in schools and colleges.

In 2016, BBPA 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.  Pub chefs are a real shortage in our sector and yet the opportunity to run your own business at a relatively early age and work in teams in a wonderful environment are enormous.  The competition aimed to raise the profile of pub chefs and has done just that.

Future High Streets:  The CEO is a member of the Ministerial Group the Future High Streets Forum (which was established post the Portas Report) and was a judge in the 2014, 2015 and Chairman of the 2016 Future High Streets competitions.  The link between retail and leisure in the high street is vital to their viability.  Working with the Chief Executive of Boots, some 40 business signed a pledge to engage their managers in improving their local high streets and increasing footfall.

Allergens:  BBPA worked with the Food Standards Agency to develop comprehensive Primary Assured guidance to assist members to comply with new responsibilities for declaring allergens within food as part of the EU Consumer Food Information Regulations, introduced in the UK from December 2014.  This guidance was particularly important for pubs who, along with the wider catering sector, were captured under these responsibilities and is highly regarded.

Product labelling: We produced over-arching Primary Assured guidance for members on the requirements for beer labels as part of the introduction of the EU Consumer Food Information Regulations,  In particular this guidance provides advice on the changes from the previous legislation as well as the more stringent responsibilities for all members of the supply chain.

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

London Cycle Superhighway:  BBPA took the lead to work with Transport for London as they introduced more cycle-only lanes in the City.  No thought had been given to how deliveries might be made to pubs and other retail outlets and, in particular, the problems of rolling beer barrels across cycle lanes.  A protocol was signed with all parties to find a solution.

Brewers Research and Education Fund:  As the 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 efficient brewery and retail operation. 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 FSA and are engaged with EFSA to ensure that we are able to respond to issues as they arise and help the 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: BBPA works 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.