Ten Brakspear pubs in Henley are to stage a tax-free beer day on 28 February to illustrate how high taxation on beer is, ahead of next month's Budget.
The Oxfordshire-based pub company will also encourage the town's drinkers to sign a petition calling for a more pub-friendly tax regime.
From opening to last orders, all the pubs will be selling pints of Brakspear Bitter, Kronenbourg and Fosters at £1.30 off their normal selling price - usually around £3.10 to £3.30 for a pint of Brakspear.
Beer duty, VAT and other taxes together add around £1.30 to a pint of beer. The taxes break down as: excise duty - 48p; VAT - 52p; employment tax - 18p; business rates - 12p.
Brakspear, with other pub operators and brewers across the country, has been lobbying the chancellor for more sympathetic treatment in the 2012 Budget. It estimates that lower taxation would help to rebalance the difference between pub and supermarket beer prices, encourage people back into their local and save an estimated 16,000 jobs over the next few years.
Tom Davies, Brakspear chief executive, said: "The great British pub has been hammered by beer duty and VAT increases, while the recession has forced people to cut down on leisure spending. It's no surprise that pubs are struggling.
"Not only are pub closures bad for the economy, they're also bad for society: pubs are the home of responsible, supervised drinking where beer, a low-alcohol drink, is enjoyed as part of a social interaction. This is far preferable to the uncontrolled consumption, often on park benches, of higher-alcohol drinks purchased from supermarkets.
"We hope our Tax-Free Day encourages more people to enjoy a pint or two in their Brakspear local and inspires them to sign our petition to help protect these pubs."
Mark Dunlop, tenant at the Angel on the Bridge, said: "This is a great way of highlighting the tax burden that pubs have to bear. We'd love to sell Brakspear at this price every day - it would make us much more competitive with the supermarkets and we'd sell more beer. "
Photo: Brakspear chief executive Tom Davies with the £1.80 cost of a pint of beer on Tax Free Beer Day (based on a £3.10 usual selling price)
By Neil Gerrard
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