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FRANCE: Parliament approves 160% beer tax hike

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A law to raise beer tax in France by 160% has been approved by the country's Parliament, sparking a fresh attack from a trade body.

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The bill including the proposed increase was passed in Paris last night (3 December), despite a bid by the French Senate to amend the rise to 120%. The move is expected to push up the retail price of beer by about 20% in the on-trade and off-trade.

“Beer has been singled out amongst the other alcoholic beverages – despite beer only representing 16% of the French drink market and per capita beer consumption in France already being the second lowest in the EU,” said Pierre-Olivier Bergeron, The Brewers of Europe secretary general, earlier today.

The group also pointed out that it will hit brewers that export to France. “30% of French beer consumption is imported beer, coming mostly from Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and the UK,” added Bergeron. “Simply put, this tax increase destroys the business model of many of these brewers and may indeed lead to a number of brewery closures.”

In France, the opposition party has said it will refer the case to the French Constitutional Court as it potentially discriminates against beer, compared to wine and cider, The Brewers of Europe said. 


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