Government Kills Off Champion Beer Of Wales

Pontypridd-based Otley Brewing have announced they are to cease production of their award-winning O8 beer and have blamed the rise in taxation for the beer becoming too expensive to produce. So have we seen the first high profile casualty of the government’s ill-judged decision to increase duty on beers over 7.5%?

If so, it will be a real shame. O8-a dark golden barley wine-has won the Champion Beer of Wales gong twice and is highly regarded in beery circles. However, its 8% status put it on the government’s naughty step of beers. Whilst the legislation was not primarily aimed at beers such as this, the law of unintentional consequences meant that something such as this happening was only a matter of time.

Why should I bother, some might ask? Particularly in the wake of questioning the wisdom of a barley wine winning CBOB. Well, it might not be your favourite tipple-it isn’t mine, but injudicious legislation hurts us all. And how long before the anti-alcohol powers that be get itchy feet and lower their definition of “strong” beer?

Update: Otley have announced that O8's replacement will be Motley Crew, a 7.5% IPA.


JohnBratley said…
CBOB 8.5% sends a strong message that such beers are popular. Taxation, however, makes them almost impossible to stock. I would have to charge over £4 for such beers and would struggle to shift them.
Curmudgeon said…
And yet Special Brew and Tennents Super are still going strong at 9% - a classic example of legislation hitting the wrong target.
Steve Lamond said…
Moor JJJ IPA also discontinued in UK
Baron Orm said…
I really like O8, it's going to be a shame that it won't be around anymore.

Will there be Otley O7.499 instead?
John Clarke said…
I think there's a bit of posturing going on here. I don't know how much they make but I guess it isn't a huge amount and I doubt its audience is that price sensitive. They could easily drop it to 7.5% if they wanted - and there are plenty of micros around making beers of above 7.5% and who show no sign of stopping soon (Summer Wine for example). And of course Robbies have made it quite clear that Old Tom will remain at 8.5%.

I wonder if they have just used this as a convenient excuse to stop making a beer that didn't actually sell all that much despite it's multi- award winning status.
Dave Morris said…
I don't think you can make any conclusions from the actions of other brewers. Each one is different and have their own finances to manage. Knowing Otley, I can't see them making such a statement if it wasn't true.
Filrd said…
I agree with John here as much as I'm against the rediculous position the government has created. There are ways around this and at that strength don't go off in weeks. If Otley wanted to continue enough I reckon it wouldn't ruin them.
I also can't understand the fuss about No9 winning CBOB, it's delicious, I'm surprised it's won but it's still bloody delicious, makes a change from some non descript dishwater.
Will it change opinions about barley wine, I doubt it, do I care, do I feck, just hope I get to see more of it.
Cheers Tyson
Sad to see an ale like this falling by the wayside.
Not a fan of barley wine.However, I know a lot who are.Just hope we get to the 100,000 signatures sharpish,thus forcing debate on our ridiculous beer tax.
Tandleman said…
What John Clarke and Mudgie said.
Gareth Jones said…
Can't wait for the 2.8% version.
Otley Fan said…
Duty is already around 80p on O8. The rise meant that a further 20p would go on top. Considering the quantities they sell, it was considered a step too far. People like Robbies have different econoimics of scale, but for Otley it just became not worth it.
John Clarke said…
The new duty level has been in force sine last year hasn't it? So presumably they are already paying it - is this included in the 80p? While Robbies may have some economies of scale, that doesn't apply to other micros who still make beers over 7.5%. Sounds more and more like a convenient excuse to drop a poorly selling beer and do a bit of publicity seeking grandstanding at the same time. Can't say I blame them though - it gets both themselves and the ludicrous duty regime in the public eye.

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