Thursday, 5 November 2020

The price of invert sugar

Brewers faced large increases in the price of all their ingredients. The price of barley got so out of hand that the government stepped and and took control in 1942, setting fixed prices. 

Sugar was also getting dearer. This is a letter from the MD of a manufacturer of brewing sugars.

To the Editor of The Brewers' Journal.

Dear Sir,—The present high price of invert sugar is almost entirely due to the advance in Duty which has taken place since the outbreak of war, and unfortunately constitutes another burden for the brewer; as Duty is again charged on the wort, to which sugar has been added, it is a case of Duty being charged twice—a principle to which, I understood, the Government was opposed.

It is, I believe, the only case of a double tax on a particular product, and as I have been asked on several occasions how to-day’s price of invert sugar can be reconciled, I think your readers would be interested to see the corresponding price of standard granulated sugar over different periods of the current year, which must be a guide and indication to them that to-day’s prices of invert are not in conflict with existing conditions: —

  Standard Granulated Sugar.  No. 2 Invert.
January 20/1.5 20/-
March 20/3 20/-
June 20/3 23/
August  23/ 23/-
September 27/6 28/5.5
November 36/10 36/4
December 36/10 36/4

Yours faithfully,
A. E. Berry, Chairman and Managing Director, Manbré and Garton, Ltd. 19/12/39.
Brewers' Journal 1940, page 63 (published January 17th, 1940).

That's an 82% increase in the cost of No. 2 invert in a space of just 8 months.And all due to an increase in the tax on it.

He has a point about the double taxation of brewing sugar.I hadn't realised that there was a tax on sugar.  Pre-1880 there was a duty on it when used for brewing purposes, but I thought that had been abolished when the Free Mash Tun Act came into force. I need to look this up. There's bound to be something in the Brewers' Almanack.

1 comment:

Chap said...

Double taxation continues to be a feature of life in the UK. The government's own website ( states: "Fuel Duty is included in the price you pay for petrol, diesel and other fuels used in vehicles or for heating. You also pay standard rate VAT at 20% on most fuel, or the reduced rate of 5% on domestic heating fuel." Hence you pay VAT on the duty component of the fuel price, a tax on tax which has long been the subject of complaints from the motoring lobby.