British drinkers to pay £180 million in beer duty during Euros

Embargoed: 00:01, Saturday 15th June 2024


  • An estimated £180 million of beer duty will be paid to the Treasury during the Euros.

  • UK has the second-highest beer duty compared to EU member states; British drinkers will pay the highest beer duty of any EU country represented at the European championships.

  • TaxPayers’ Alliance is calling for the next government to freeze alcohol duty in its first fiscal event.

National Beer Day, held today (15th June), is a great opportunity to celebrate Britain’s treasured pub culture. With the Euros underway, many Brits will be enjoying the games with a pint in hand down their local. But a new briefing from the TaxPayers’ Alliance, has found that British drinkers are subject to higher beer duty than any EU country represented in the European championships, and the second highest in the EU as a whole. With an estimated 300 million pints expected to be drunk over the tournament, this will mean £180 million in beer duty is paid during the course of the tournament

In the run up to the general election, voters will be inundated with pictures of pints being poured by candidates and party leaders in a bid to connect with their electorates. Yet few will acknowledge that one of the nation’s favourite tipples is so heavily taxed. In August 2023, beer duty on the average strength beer rose to £21.01 per litre of pure alcohol. This amounts to an increase of 21.3 per cent in duty on the average strength beer since 2010.

When looking at beer duty for competitors at the Euros 2024, British drinkers will pay more than drinkers in any of the EU nations participating. Under EU laws, member states must set a minimum duty of £0.04 per pint of beer, compared to the £0.60 UK rate. Although many EU countries choose to set beer duty higher than the minimum, the UK rate is still double or quadruple that of some EU countries. Finland is the only EU member state with a higher level of beer duty set at £0.94. 

On top of £180 million spent on beer duty, £237.5 million will be spend on VAT. As VAT is applied on top of beer duty, part of VAT is effectively a double tax. Without beer duty, the average cost of a pint would be reduced by £0.72



Key findings:

  • At £0.60 per pint at five per cent abv, the UK has the second highest beer duty of any country when compared with EU member states. This is double Slovenia’s; almost quadruple Demark’s; and more than any EU country England or Scotland can play in the Euro 2024 football championship.
  • Finland is the only EU member state with a higher level of beer duty than the UK (£0.94 per pint)
  • It is estimated that 300 million pints will be sold during the UEFA Euro 2024 tournament, raising more than £1.4 billion for the hospitality sector. However, £180 million will be for beer duty and £237.5 million for VAT. Together, this means 29 per cent of the value of pints sold, or £417.5 million, will be paid in taxes. 
  • Since 2010, duty on the average strength beer has increased by 21.3 per cent. Without beer duty the average cost of a pint would be reduced from £4.75 to £4.03.




Benjamin Elks, grassroots development manager of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:

"Fans trying to enjoy the footie may end up focusing more on watching their wallets.

“Excessive rates of beer duty leave a bitter taste in the mouth for those taking part in one of the nation’s great pastimes, particularly when we outstrip most of our European neighbours.

“The next government should help Brits support their local pubs and freeze alcohol duty.”

TPA spokespeople are available for live and pre-recorded broadcast interviews via 07795 084 113 (no texts)



Media contact:

Elliot Keck
Head of Campaigns, TaxPayers' Alliance
[email protected]
24-hour media hotline: 07795 084 113 (no texts)

Notes to editors:
  1. Founded in 2004 by Matthew Elliott and Andrew Allum, the TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) campaigns to reform taxes and public services, cut waste and advocate for British taxpayers. Find out more at

  2. TaxPayers' Alliance's advisory council.


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