Never mind the Russians waking up to a New Year shock, beer drinkers in France have been subjected to an excruciating 160 per cent rise in their beer tax.
Approved by the French parliament in early December, the extortionate tax will see the price of an average beer in Paris rise from €7to between €8.50 – €9 – approximately AU$11 at today’s exchange rate.
While this is not a great loss for the average French drinker – who only drinks around five pints of amber nectar per month – it is a blow for the nation’s emerging craft beer scene, who are already struggling against an overwhelming national preference for wine.
And while the government claimed the rise was for health reasons, they failed to change the wine tax despite wine making up 59 per cent of the nation’s alcohol consumption as compared to the 16 per cent currently occupied by beer.
However, despite the astronomical figure, France still collects less tax per pint than the governments of the UK and Ireland. Unfortunately for French beer drinkers and tourists, the price of beer is still much lower – around €5 per pint – despite the tax difference.
In a country with a fledgling craft beer movement the new tax could be a death knell. Hopefully the famed French gastronomy will have an epiphany when given the opportunity to drink something other than the ubiquitous macro Lager served at every bistro in the country.