No.1 travel guide for Belgium; dedicated to Belgian beer and food culture.

French plan to raise tax on beer meets Belgian resistance

Email  •  Print

Author: Jim Deschepper / Published: 2012-11-16 14:52:18 +0100 / Last Updated: about 2 years ago

french beer tax ©

BRUSSELS - In an attempt to replenish a depleted treasury chest and allegedly help fight the economic crisis, France aims at raising the taxes on beer starting the 1st of January 2013. The French plan is to increase the duty imposed on beer by 160% while unsurprisingly, duty on wine will remain unchanged.

The new duty will depend on alcohol content but would mean that specialty beers will cost up to €2 more each than before! Belgian Brewers are outraged at the new proposal; 32% of their entire export currently goes to France and the concern is that the huge tax hike will decimate sales.

The fear in Belgium is that these drastic measures will result in a collapse of the French beer market as well as domestic job losses in the industry.

Using diplomatic efforts, the world’s number one beer nation is fighting what has been called an "unjust and protectionist change to French law". According to the Flemish liberal community senator Bart Tommelein, who also happens to be the vice-president of the Belgian Beer Club, the new law goes against the principal of European free market regulation.

In 1980 the United Kingdom tried to raise its alcohol duties on wine in order to protect their domestic beer market. The European court then decided this was contrary to a treaty which dictates that a country’s fiscal policy can’t be used to favor specific national industries.

As this is a substantiated precedent there is still hope that the French government will change their minds before it goes to the French senate to vote on 17th November. Together with some of his colleagues Mr. Tommelein is making every effort to persuade their French counterparts not to vote this disastrous new regulation.

If France does go through with the plan, the Belgian senators will support an existing proposition to introduce a new Belgian law, which will in turn heavily tax all alcoholic beverages containing high concentrations of sulfites and tannins, that means wine.

Recent Blog Posts

Showcasing the Belgian art of living, Horecatel 2018
MARCHE-EN-FAMENNE - “Their cuisine is on a par with that of the French and the portions are generous...” When people discuss the Belgian art of living, it won’t be long before the term ‘Burgundian’ ... [ read more ]
Bruges Beer Festival 2018: your window on the Belgian beer world
BRUGES - Eleven years ago it all started off on quite a modest scale in the medieval town hall of Bruges, under the imposing gaze of the Belfry. Now, in 2018, the Bruges Beer Festival has spread its w ... [ read more ]
Anthony Martin, a Belgian brewer with British roots
GENVAL - It’s 1909 when John Martin, a Brit, makes his home in Antwerp, earning his living by provisioning sailing vessels. Before long John’s deliveries are heading onto the ships of the Red Star Lin ... [ read more ]
Brussels Beer Challenge 2017, the results are in!
NAMUR - At the 6th edition of the Brussels Beer Challenge, hosted this year by the city of Namur, Belgium once again lived up to its cast-iron reputation as one of the most important beer countries in ... [ read more ]
Hop picking time at Palm Belgian Craft Brewers!
STEENHUFFEL - The annual hop harvest at Palm Belgian Craft Brewers is truly a festival of and for the people. We survey the busy crowds on the last Sunday in August in the hop field in the shadow of t ... [ read more ]


You must be logged in to leave a comment



French plan to introduce new tax on (Belgian) beer

BRUSSELS - Tensions are rising once again (in fact you might say they're frothing over) because of French proposals for another new tax on beer. The government is considering extending an existing 'premix' tax ... [ more ]

Jean-Louis Van de Perre, President of the Belgian Brewers

BRUSSELS - In June, Jean-Louis Van de Pere succeeded Theo Vervloet as President of the Belgian brewers’ federation known as the Belgian Brewers. This was also shortly before [ more ]

Sven Gatz, Managing Director of the Belgian Brewers

BRUSSELS - Open Sesame. I disappear through the archway of the imposing 'Brouwershuis', one of the architectural pearls of the Grand Marché in Brussels. This prestigious location – the Brewers’ House in English - is home... [ more ]

Proud of our beer: Belgian Brewers launch first ever national campaign

BRUSSELS - An American chef, a Parisian and a Chinese café owner... What could these three people possibly have in common? Well, watch the three commercials produced on behalf of the Belgian Br... [ more ]


More Beer

Waterloo Récolte is a traditional Belgian farm beer, in the same family as saisons from Hainaut or the white beers of the Brabant region. All the ingredients can be sourced fro... [ more ]

Beer Tourism Newsletter Signup

Enter your name and email address on the right and click "SignUp" to join.