Oxfordshire-based pub company Brakspear has hailed its Tax Free Beer Day as a "huge success" for the 10 Henley pubs participating in it.
The move, designed to highlight punitive beer taxation, saw the pubs sell Brakspear Bitter, Oxford Gold, Kronenbourg, Foster's and Heineken at a discount of £1.30 - the amount of tax on a pint sold for £3.10.
Beer sales in these pubs were estimated to have been about twice the amount sold on the same Tuesday in 2011 and some 1,000 customers signed the in-pub petitions calling for a freeze on beer duty and a reduction in VAT for the hospitality sector.
Brakspear chief executive Tom Davies said: "Tax Free Beer Day achieved our objective for it, namely highlighting to our customers in Henley and further afield the amount of tax they pay on beer. The increase in sales seen by our tenants indicates just how the current levels of taxation are affecting people's ability to afford a pint in the pub.
"Lower taxation would encourage people back into the pub, protecting more of them from closure and creating jobs to cater for the increase in trade. And, most importantly at this time of high youth unemployment, pubs could generate jobs for young adults: around half of the pub trade's employees are 18 to 24 year olds."
He added: "If Brakspear can generate this level of interest and support on its own, imagine how much more could be achieved if other brewers and pub companies joined us by running similar campaigns in other parts of the country? We'd certainly be able to raise the 100,000 signatures needed to force a debate on beer tax in the House of Commons, which would be a great result for pubs and pubgoers."
By Neil Gerrard
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