Tyson's post is titled 'How Low Can You Go'. Judging by the views of one of the brewers invited to participate, low calumny in the form of a bit of wool-pulling over eyes was going on. The press release lauded the high turnout of our representatives - well, it's free beer after all. We are informed that
The beers on show in Parliament demonstrated the speedy commitment of brewers large and small in taking up the Government’s challenge to offer customers lower alcohol alternatives to what is anyway a low alcohol drink.Robert Humphreys, secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group, had this to say:
"Members from all parties were amazed and greatly impressed by the variety of styles and characters of the nineteen beers on show. The response of UK brewers large and small to the tough challenge of brewing exciting and saleable beers at this strength hugely impressed our members and demonstrates what a small change in the taxation regime can achieve"
That bold is my emphasis. The Pub Curmudgeon has speculated that, given an inch, then the likelihood is that it will be tough to stop the neo-prohibitionists and their fellow travellers from attempting to take a mile.
Andy Tighe from BBPA, didn't appear to be drawn on the issue of taxation, but the press release noted that "with considerable retail interest in this burgeoning but nascent sector, the BBPA is looking to do more to highlight this growing category of beers in the coming months."
All very jolly. But at least one brewer with a beer on the list decided not to participate in the event, stating that they
...dropped out over the super tax on strong craft beers. They were using the event to make it look like brewers supported them. I don't.
With the Irish looking to develop a cross-border initiative for minimum pricing of alcohol (the Department of Health notes alcohol is Ulster's "favourite drug" according to the 'facts' on the BBC website), and Parliament yet again dragging its feet over reining in the unfair business practices of the pubcos (report back from Independent Commission in the autumn, equals what? Another 600 pubs lost?), how long before the health argument is used to tighten the squeeze on stronger beers.