HOGS Back Brewery has hailed the government’s Autumn Budget and Spending Review – and particularly the simplified alcohol duty system.

According to owner of the Tongham-based brewery, Rupert Thompson, the Budget shows the government "recognises the special role pubs play at the heart of our communities".

And he has even offered to brew the Chancellor, Rich Sunak, a "special celebratory no alcohol pint" in gratitude.

Commenting on Wednesday’s Budget announcement, Mr Thompson said: "We are very supportive of the Chancellor’s announcements on duty which are bold, far reaching and demonstrate a good understanding of why it’s important to avoid damaging, tax-driven market distortions.

"The new Draught Relief, freeze to the planned increase on beer duty, and the business rates discount, are very much welcomed, and show that the Government recognises the special role pubs play at the heart of our communities, and the very heavy costs that they bear. However, anomalies on VAT charged on food in pubs versus supermarkets remain a long-term problem.

"We applaud the move to simplify the duty system, which promises to be much fairer. With smaller cider makers now set to benefit from duty relief on ciders under 8.5 per cent ABV, we support wide consultation and learning from the review of Small Breweries’ Relief. It is important to avoid the unintended anomalies that caused many problems for mid-sized brewers and constrained normal market growth.

"Overall, this is a good Budget for British pubs and British brewers. We will be raising a glass to the Chancellor and once all the details of duty reform are sorted out we may even brew him a special celebratory no alcohol pint!"