I’ve written quite a few posts about beer…
- Australia’s Best Beers and Lagers by BobinOz
- The Price of a Night Out With the Boys
- Lights, Heavies, Mids and Schooners Explained
- Cost of Living in Australia: Alcohol. This Week: Beer
- Australia Versus England: Beer and Pubs
- Cheap Australian Beer Anybody?
… to name but a few.
I’ve also written a few posts about tax…
- Cost of Living in Australia: Income-Tax Rates
- Australian Carbon Tax and My New Favourite Aussie Pollie
- Australian Carbon Tax Protests
As you can see though, I’ve written more about beer than I have about tax. No prizes for guessing that I prefer beer to tax.
Today though, I am writing about beer…
A tax freeze on beer in Australia?
Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) have asked the Australian government to put a freeze on beer tax in this coming budget due August 1. According to the Courier Mail, tax and beer in Australia goes up automatically and has done since Bob Hawke ran the country 30 years ago.
He put in place a thing called “automatic excise change” wherein beer tax is increased twice a year under inflation-linked indexation.
Each and every Australian prime minister since has stuck with this “standing order tax hike” and it remains in place today. But CUB wants our current Chancellor, Wayne Swan, to put an end to it. They point to the UK where Chancellor George Osborne went even further by ditching a proposed 3p a pint rise and instead reducing the price of a pint by one penny.
The spokesman for CUB argues that beer tax in Australia is already high enough compared to other countries. He’s not kidding! Here are the stats…
Tax per 1 litre of pure alcohol
According to the article, here’s what a selection of countries pay in tax per litre of pure alcohol:
- $32 – Australia
- $28 – UK
- $24 – Sweden
- $10 – Netherlands
- $9 – Italy
- $9 – Hungary
- $6 – Canada
- $4 – France
- $3 – Spain
- $3 – Germany
- $2 – US (California)
That makes the sober reading for beer lovers living in Australia and the UK, but it’s certainly not surprising. Tax on beer in the US (California) though is a big surprise to me.
Australians are paying 16 times more tax on beer than Californians?
Beer prices compared: Australia versus US (California)
I decided to go shopping for beer in California, online of course. I found that I could buy a Budweiser 12 pack of 12 ounce bottles for just $10.99.
Here in Australia you would pay around $40 (sometimes more) for 24 x 375 ml bottles of Victoria Bitter (VB), one of CUB’s best sellers.
12 ounces is the equivalent of 355 ml, so the Australian bottles are about 5.6% bigger. So if we take 2 of those Budweiser 12 packs, that would cost us $21.98, and if we add 5.6% that gives us $23.21 USD.
At current exchange rates, with the Australian dollar being worth just a tiny bit more than the USD, the direct comparison becomes…
- 24 x Budweiser 375 ml = $22.63 AUD
- 24 x VB 375 ml = $40 (or more) AUD
Beer in California then is almost half the price of beer here in Australia. As impressive as that is, with tax on beer in California being so much lower than it is here, you would expect beer there to be even cheaper than it is. Somebody is making much more profit than they are at CUB.
And that’s why I can’t imagine Wayne Swan taking any notice whatsoever.