The price of beer in New South Wales is set to rise by at least $3.50 per carton in preparation for the Government’s Container Deposit Scheme (CDS).

So what is the CDS you might say? And why is it affecting the price of beer? If you’re asking yourself these questions we don’t blame you because so far the NSW Government has done very little in way of communicating to consumers what the cost of the scheme will be.

As of 1 November, the price of drinks sold in bottles, cans and PET in NSW will increase by at least $3.50 per carton (24), as announced to the trade by the Scheme Coordinator on 18 August, in order to build a float for redemption which will commence from 1 December.

Wine and spirit glass containers as well as wine casks and sachets, are unaffected by the scheme.

Chris McNamara the Executive Director at the Independent Brewers Association (IBA) has expressed his disappointment at the lack of communication around the scheme.

“Container deposit scheme. The three words that have every person involved with beverage manufacture and sales in New South Wales muttering obscenities at the moment,” McNamara said in a column written for National Liquor News.

“Poor communications, changed definitions, lazy decisions, rushed processes. I could go on. I’m sure there have been more ham fisted policy implementations in the past but I’m struggling to think of them.

“While I could spend countless column inches detailing issues such as the competitive advantage given to wine and spirits through their exclusion, the lack of a refund mark or the bizarre first supply interpretations, there is one other issue that needs more immediate attention. Communications.

“As I write this we are about five weeks away from the scheme going live. Five weeks! And still there has been no advertising campaign giving the general public any details. No one has told them that the price of beer will be going up for Christmas, or why.

“This isn’t something that can be rushed. It needs to be a nuanced information campaign. It’s not simply a ‘Your carton of beer will go up $2.40 but you can get that back by returning your stubbies’ message. We already know that the cost per stubby charged to producers will be 14.07c not 10c. And then there’s GST. And what about retailer margins? How will they be affected?

“Oh and the price will actually need to go up in November but you won’t be able to get your 10c back until December.

“The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has assured us that Exchange For Change has this covered. It’s their responsibility under the agreement. So let’s look at the Exchange for Change website then. ‘Please go to the Return and Earn website.’ Oh ok. And on the Return and Earn site we find nothing. Oh sorry, here you go: ‘Supplier contributions methodology summary.’ How did I miss that? I’m sure we’ll see lots of consumers whipping out their smartphones and referring to the Assumed Seasonality Index and Assumed Recovery Rate per material type as they stand in bottle shops wondering why the carton of their favourite independent beer has gone up by $4.

“I understand that there is probably some concern that consumers will start stockpiling containers but surely this late in the piece the focus needs to be on consumer education.

“Frankly the NSW EPA and the Exchange for Change consortia need to do better. The livelihoods of many small, independent business owners are dependent on it.”

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1 Comment

  1. Damn, I always bought my beer in returnable bottles in the US starting from when I turned 21 until I left in 1999. In The Philippines I had my beer delivered in returnable bottles and it was no inconvenience to just store the cases until next delivery day when the defective bottles got replaced with full ones. What’s the problem here?

    It looks to me like the BEER stays the same price once you have paid the deposit, which you get back when you return the containers. Clickbait fake news article.

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