British Politician Under Fire as Gin Distillers Accuse Him of Not Backing England's National Booze
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British Politician Under Fire as Gin Distillers Accuse Him of Not Backing England’s National Liquor

Britain’s Chancellor Jeremy Hunt leaves 11 Downing Street to attend Parliament in London, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022. (Photo: AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Following the release of some shocking liquor industry data, gin distillers in the U.K. have accused British politician Chancellor Jeremy Hunt of failing to back England’s national liquor, according to The Mirror.

In early March, the cost of duty on a bottle of gin in the U.K. was revealed to be 77% higher than the European Union average, according to U.K. Spirits Alliance analysis. Thus, taxes claim 70% of the cost of a single bottle of gin, per The Mirror. This is in stark comparison to the 0% in taxes wine imbibers in Spain pay on their national drink and the small sum of 15p French sparkling wine drinkers pay per glass, the report noted.

According to The Sun, Hunt is anticipated to announce an excise duties increase of 13.4% after a six-month freeze. Facing considerable financial strains, U.K. distillers and brewers alike have begged Hunt to extend the freeze.

“A double-digit tax rise, which distillers face without action from the Chancellor, will put further pressure on the industry already weighed down by increased regulation like the Deposit Return Scheme, high inflation and rising costs,” said Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association Mark Kent, per The Sun.

Calling on Hunt to cut liquor duty costs, the group of gin producers said: “Give Brit drinkers and distillers a tonic and not a shot in the foot.”

“Drinkers in Paris, Madrid and Rome are ordering our gins at the double and paying just a fraction of the duty slapped on here,” a spokesman for the UK Spirits Alliance noted, as reported by The Mirror. “On average UK spirits duty is 77 per cent higher than the EU average. That’s not fair on drinkers here.”

“Gin is England’s national spirit – you can imagine what a Frenchman might say to being told to hand the taxman 70 per cent of the value of a bottle of pastis,” he added. “Or an Italian priced out of a shot of grappa?”

Additionally, the group asked Hunt to not increase excise duty in next month’s Budget, as spirit industry costs are already at an all-time high.

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Candie Getgen is the managing editor for Gin Raiders. Before immersing herself in the world of spirits journalism, Candie has been many things: a bartender, a literary journal editor, an English teacher — and even a poet. Now, Candie shares her passion for gin with the world and hopes to help others fall in love with it, too (if they haven't already!). When not writing, Candie enjoys sipping an extra-dry martini while painting or relaxing by the pool with a thrilling mystery novel.