Toasts tax cuts for beer entrepreneurs
The Government proposes in the revised National Budget cuts in the alcohol tax for more than 100 Norwegian small scale beer breweries from Svalbard in the north to Agder in the south.
Minister of Finance, Siv Jensen (Progress Party) and Minister of Culture, Trine Skei Grande (Liberals) brought wonderful news with them when they visited the CEO and master brewer at Grünerløkka Brewery in Oslo, Kjetil Johnsen, on Monday night.
– This is money that is very welcome in a situation where entrepreneurs work long days and sometimes struggle with tight economy and poor liquidity, Johnsen tells NTB.
For Grünerløkka Brewery, the reduction will mean NOK 350,000-400,000 extra available, a safer everyday and perhaps even an opportunity to buy more equipment, according to the entrepreneur.
The tax reduction is estimated to be worth approximately NOK 15 million in total. The Government’s proposal for the revised National Budget for 2018 will be presented on May 15th.
The proposal encompass breweries producing less than 500,000 litres of beer annually with an alcohol level in the range 3.7 to 4.7 volume per cent, ie beer that is allowed to be sold in regular supermarkets. The tax relief applies to the the first 200,000 litres that are produced.
The number of commercial micro breweries in Norway has grown a lot in recent years, and there are currently around 150 such to be found around the country. Many also produce for their own use only.
– Supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs is one of the most important things we can do as business policy. With this proposal, the Government will help more brewery entrepreneurs to create and secure jobs across Norway, says the Minister of Finance to NTB.
– The measure will provide assistance to small entrepreneurs, more variety in the offer of food and drink and be a boost for those who contribute to the beer brewing craft being maintained, Grande adds.
– And that is good district policy. Many beer brewers have enthusiastic followers locally, but are struggling to keep the wheels turning. Now they can fullfil their dream, she tells NTB.
Christian Democrats and ESA
The three Government parties do not possess a majority in the Norwegian Parliament and are going to negotiate with the Christian Democrats (KrF) to land the budget. Jensen is adamant that the proposal does not challenge Norwegian alcohol policy.
– This is not a question of offering cheap beer. It is a question of cheering entrepreneurs on who develop products that are mostly not cheap to start with. – This is not primarily an instrument for alcohol policy, says Jensen.
– I do not think KrF view this as a threat to the Norwegian alcohol policy. It’s not going to increase consumption, but rather the quality, Grande says.
The tax reduction will take effect once it has been approved by the EEA Authority (ESA) and ratified by the Parliament.
The tax cut will affect 114 breweries that are members of the Norwegian Brewery and Beverage Association.
– Small-scale breweries were responsible for 4.4 per cent of beer consumption in Norway last year, and 25 per cent of employment in the Norwegian brewery industry, says CEO in the Association, Petter Nome.
The tax cut is to be stepwise, giving a 20 per cent tax rebate for the first 50,000 litres. Then there is a 15 per cent discount for volumes between 50,000 and 100,000, 10 per cent for volumes between 100,000 and 150,000 and 5 per cent for volumes between 150,000 and 200,000 litres.
The tax reduction is for small breweries that are legally and economically independent of other breweries, and who produce on a property separate from other breweries and which do not brew beer on license.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today