According to HM Revenue and Customs, illegal imports of beer - beer that has not had UK duty paid on it - amounts to 14% of UK beer volumes. Now I am assuming here that legally imported beer for personal consumption is not included in these figures, but then again can that be so, as including those beers would make the problem much worse? On the other hand then legally imported beer for personal consumption can be sold illegally. Is that what they are saying, or is it some kind of some kind of combination? What do these guesstimates really mean? It's as clear as mud.
The problem with this sort of thing is that when you start to think about it, the whole premise becomes less and less likely. Where does this beer come from? Where does it go? Is it being imported in such quantities when we are told supermarkets are giving it away? It can't be being sold in pubs to any great extent either can it? For such quantities to be true, you'd have to import it by the truck load rather than the (white) van load and surely HMRC and the Immigration Department still check loads, even if it is just for VAT, security and illegal immigrants? It all seems rather far fetched to me.
The Revenue say that the country is losing (in 2009/10) an incredible £800 million in duty due to this. (Spirits which to me is more believable, account for another £440 million). This is up an incredible 40% in one year.
Anyone got any thoughts on this?
Coming on the day after the publication of the Cask Report, this would mean that illegal beer imports exceed total cask beer sales.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
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