Diageo blames Hunt for ‘drinkflation’
By Daniel Woolfson
THE drinks giant behind Guinness has blamed Jeremy Hunt for the growing trend among brewers to reduce the alcohol content in their beer in order to pay less tax. Nuno Teles, managing director at Diageo GB, said “disproportionate” taxation enforced by the Treasury was encouraging the “wrong behaviours” among drinks companies. He said: “Changing the alcohol content in beers because of a reaction to the tax, I don’t think it’s the right approach. Why should the consumer be confronted with [this] because of taxation? I don’t think by increasing the taxation, you’re going to boost the economy.” Alcohol duty is calculated based on the percentage of alcohol in the final product. This means cutting the alcohol by volume is an easy way to make savings at a time when the cost of brewing and distilling has soared. The rate of alcohol duty went up by 10.1pc in August. Brands including Carlsberg, Old Speckled Hen and Leffe Blonde have cut the alcohol content in their beers in the past year. A Leffe spokesman said it made the change to “better suit the consumer palate”. The practice of making drinks weaker has been dubbed “drinkflation”.