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This Year's Budget Will Dish Out Millions in Tax Relief For Local Breweries and Distilleries

Australia's small breweries have scored a much-needed helping hand, as part of the government's post-COVID recovery push.
By Libby Curran
May 13, 2021
By Libby Curran
May 13, 2021

If your tipple of choice is a tasty local beer or homegrown spirit, the 2021–22 Federal Budget has served up some good news for your future drinking endeavours. In a push to support jobs and boost Australia's alcohol manufacturing sector, the government is set to offer around $225 million in tax relief for local small breweries and distilleries.

Announced earlier this month and reiterated during this week's federal budget announcement, this move will allow eligible brewers and distillers to get back any excise tax they pay on the alcohol they produce, up to a cap of $350,000 each year. Previously, they were only entitled to a maximum refund of 60 percent, capped annually at $100,000.

The Excise Refund Scheme changes will kick off from July 1, 2021, pulling the benefits for Australia's beer and spirits industries more into line with what the wine industry currently enjoys. It's expected that around 600 brewers and 400 distillers will benefit from the move.

The tax relief should offer our local beer and spirits scenes a huge boost, according to Independent Brewers Association Chairman and founder of Sydney's Wayward Brewing Co, Peter Philip. In an interview with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg earlier this month, Mr Philip explained that small brewers and distilleries would be pushing this extra money into technology, capability, capacity and their people.

"Consumers really want to support small, locally-owned independent beer in Australia. And this is just going to make that happen," he said.

In the same interview, Bentspoke Brewing founder Richard Watkins called the excise change "one of the biggest things that's ever happened in the brewing industry", saying his Canberra-based brewery would be investing in new equipment and technology to make the beer even better and meet increased demand.

Wayward Brewing's Camperdown taproom

The budget move will also prove a timely helping hand for two industries especially hard hit by last year's hospitality lockdowns. In a statement made last month calling for a drop in excise tax rates, the Brewers Association of Australia revealed its 2020 data showing draught beer sales had plunged by a third, compared to the previous year. According to the organisation, that translates to a drop of over $1 billion in beer sold by pubs and clubs in 2020 alone.

For more information about the 2021–22 Federal Budget, head to the government's website.

Published on May 13, 2021 by Libby Curran

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