A PRE-budget commitment to improve equity for craft beer producers has met with a mixed response from Swan Valley breweries.
Last week, Treasurer Scott Morrison announced the excise rebate for all breweries will rise from $30,000 a year to $100,000.
The changes will be implemented in next week’s Federal Budget and come into effect from July 1, 2019.
In addition, the taxation level on kegs of beer will be changed.
Currently kegs over 48 litres are taxed at $34 a litre of alcohol, while 30 litre kegs attract a $49 a litre of alcohol excise.
Mr Morrison said that all kegs over eight litres would now be taxed at the same rate, a change he claimed would lead to cheaper beer at the tap.
Mash Brewing started in the Swan Valley in 2006, and sales manager Robbe Bryce said that while he welcomed the changes, he was skeptical Mr Morrison’s claim of cheaper beer would play out.
He also said it would be some time before craft beer producers would be put on a level playing field with the wine industry, with wineries able to claim a $500,000 rebate via the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET).
“It’s welcomed news and a great step forward for breweries, definitely better than a kick in the pants,” he said.
“We look forward to the day craft beer producers are on the same playing field as wine producers with the WET rebate.
“I’m not sure if the extra $70,000 rebate will result in cheaper beer as Treasurer Scott Morrison makes out, but will more than likely go back into the breweries to help business growth with employment opportunities and capital expenses.”
Feral Brewing owner Brendan Varis, however, said the changes would have little impact on the Swan Valley’s biggest brewer after it was sold to Coca Cola Amatil last year.
“Amatil will be eligible to receive the rebate once but across the volume of the group it won’t be meaningful,” he said.
“We will still likely use 50 litre kegs because our beer is popular enough to sell that amount and we have good occupational health and safety practices in place to handle them.”
By Liam Ducey