Hairyman Brewery in budget excise tax announcement with customer Scott Morrison

The owners of a Caringbah craft brewery took part in a federal budget announcement of a fairer tax deal for small brewers and distillers.

Treasurer Scott Morrison, a regular customer of Hairyman Brewery, invited husband and wife team Andy Orrell and Joan O’Donnell to Canberra.

Mr Morrison announced craft brewers and distillers would no longer pay additional excise tax, allowing them to compete on fairer terms with large beverage companies.

At present, draught beer sold in kegs exceeding 48 litres is taxed at lower rates than beer sold in smaller kegs, disadvantaging smaller brewery businesses. 

The concessional rate will be extended to kegs of eight litres or more.

The alcohol excise refund scheme cap will also be increased from $30,000 a year to $100,000.

 Mr Morrison said craft brewers and distillers would be able to compete on fairer terms with large beverage companies and could lead to a drop in prices.

“The extra help to craft brewers and distillers will drive competition in a sector currently dominated by large domestic and multinational brewers, opening the door to new products and will likely put downward pressure on prices,” he said.

Mr Orrell, who, with his wife started Hairyman Brewery in 2016, said extending the concessional rate to kegs of eight litres or more was “a win for the beer consumer”.

“From brew pubs, craft bars, restaurants and craft bottle shops, it will allow a wider and fresher choice to the independent beer drinker,” he said.

“In addition, there are work safety benefits in lighter kegs.”

It will allow for more tap varieties in existing bar infrastructure and have an impact in the changing face of the independent beer/brewing industry as we know it in Australia.”

The Caringbah brewery’s name derives from folklore of a large, wild goat, named the Hairy Wild Man from Botany Bay, who roamed the area in the early days of settlement, stealing beer from the sailors.

The business was launched two years ago.

 There are around 380 craft brewers in Australia, employing almost 2400 people, and more than 100 domestic distillers, supporting about 1600 jobs.