After Rishi Sunak posed with kegs too small to qualify, Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak posed with plans to reduce taxes on large beer kegs.

According to insiders, the Treasury had always planned to reconsider the move following talks with industry leaders over several months.

In his Budget on Wednesday, the Chancellor announced that a tax cut would only apply to 40l kegs beer and cider, not the 30l used by craft breweries.

Later in the day, the PM and Mr Sunak visited London’s beer factory to take photos to promote the new relief.

But they were left red-faced when it was pointed out the barrels from Fourpure Brewery in Bermondsey were too small to classify.

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak were left red-faced when it was pointed out the barrels from Fourpure Brewery in Bermondsey were too small to classify (pictured on Wednesday)

Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak and Rishi Sunak were both left in a bad mood when it was pointed that the barrels from Fourpure Brewery Bermondsey were too small for classification (pictured on Wednesday).

In addition to the beer duty cut, Rishi Sunak also announced a planned increase to the duty on lower-strength spirits, wine, cider and beer will be cancelled. The changes will see the tax take increase on some drinks and decrease on others

In addition to the beer duty cut, Rishi Sunak also announced a planned increase to the duty on lower-strength spirits, wine, cider and beer will be cancelled. These changes will result in a tax increase for some drinks and a decrease for others. 

What are the main changes in the alcohol tax system?

– The duty rates on draught beer, cider and wine will be cut by 5% – three pence off a pint 

– The duty rate for draught apple cider will be equalised to beer, reducing the rate by 20 percent and taking 13 pence off each pint.

All products will be subject to tax according to their Alcohol By Volume (ABV), with a reduction in duty for cider and lighter wines. A 10.5% Rose bottle will see a 23 pence reduction in tax. However, the levy for white ciders and stronger wines will increase.  

Sparkling wine will be subject to the same tax as still wine, eliminating the 28 percent premium currently in place. 

Sources informed the Times that the government planned to negotiate the limit following consultations with industry bosses that ended in January.

According to the Treasury, the newspaper was informed that most draught beer sold in pubs will be eligible for the relief, even if it’s made by small or craft brewers.

“We are working with industry to determine the criteria for ensuring that the relief supports pubs and not supermarkets, as smaller kegs may also be sold for home consumption.”

The FT reported that the Treasury could alter the size cap due to pressure from pubs, breweries.

Industry leaders dismissed the notion that Britons would save money on beer and fizz due to the Budget changes.

Mr Sunak boasted that he had reduced the duty on beer and cider sold in bars and pubs for a “once in a lifetime” reduction.

It was suggested that the reforms would result in a saving of about 3p per pint. Mr Sunak claimed this would be a lifeline to community bars.

The changes won’t take effect until February 2023, and will be overshadowed by cost increases that could add 25p-30p per pint.

The pandemic has wrought havoc on the hospitality and brewing industry with numerous lockdowns. They now face severe increases in labour and transport costs.

The Budget contained small print rules that limit the benefits of the promised reductions in duty on draught beer, cider, and other beverages sold in kegs or casks containing at most 40 litres.

Most craft brewers, as well as the pubs they serve, use smaller 30ltr bottles. This is a way to miss the reduction

Boris Johnson is pictured on a visit to Fourpure Brewery in Bermondsey, London, after the Budget on Wednesday

Boris Johnson is pictured after the Budget in London on Wednesday at Fourpure Brewery.

The Budget had the changes as a key plank and Boris Johnson and the teetotalChancellor took to the streets in a publicity stunt at Fourpure Brewing Company in Bermondsey, London, to highlight them. But they are now unravelling in the eyes of industry leaders.

Dawn Hopkins, vice chairman of Campaign for Pubs, is the owner of Rose Inn in Norwich. She stated that there’s no way for this to lead to a price increase across the bar.

“Prices are rising and these changes will not come in until 2023.” It also excludes smaller kegs from craft beer breweries.

Gary Murphy, the campaign director, stated that it is highly unlikely that the price for a pint of beer will drop.

“The idea that we will get pints 3p cheaper than before is absurd.” He said that the challenges are much greater than the crumbs being offered.

The Chancellor announced in his Budget on Wednesday a tax cut will only affect 40l kegs of beer and cider - not the 30l ones used by craft breweries (pictured on Wednesday)

In his Budget on Wednesday, the Chancellor announced that a tax cut would only affect 40l kegs beer and cider. Not the 30l used by craft breweries.

Shepherd Neame chief executive Jonathan Neame stated that the company would transfer the 3p-a pint duty cut on kegs sold wholesale to landlords to the company, but it is unlikely that drinkers will see the benefit.

He said that Radio 4’s Today program would pass on the duty cut at wholesale. However, in all honesty, pubs face between 25 and 30p per pint inflation. This will take the top off of that.

“It will decrease the rate of growth, but there is approximately 14percent inflation impacting most hospitality business. While I would love to say that beer prices will drop, it is difficult to see how, as a lot more inflation is happening in terms of energy, food, etc.

In a reform which will see alcohol strength tax, the Chancellor also promised that he would abolish the super-tax on sparkling wine, prosecco or champagne.

Although this could theoretically reduce the price of the wine by 53p per bottle, it is likely that this will be offset by large increases in the costs of wine production, imports, and the hospitality industry.

The Government insists that the reform of alcohol duties, to base them on strength, will lead to real reductions. Treasury documents put the value of these at £20m in 2022-23 and £115m the following year.