The new 5.2% ale will go on sale in 500ml bottles after gaining what the brewer said was a “growing cult following” when released as a limited-edition seasonal ale.
Posted tagged ‘Cornish beer’
A micro-brewery has been left with a hefty bill after the taxman decided an artisan beer made using hand-picked stinging nettles was an alcopop.
Foodswild, which produces a range of products at Seworgan, near Helston, got a visit from a representative of HM Revenue and Customs in December, after an inspector saw Cornish Stingers, a 4.5 per cent alcohol drink made from nettles, being bottled at a nearby brewery.
Because the wheat and gluten-free drink does not contain malted barley, they this week ruled that it is not a beer but a “made-wine”, a group of drinks which includes alcopops like WKD and Smirnoff Ice.
The company was handed a bill for £9,000 in extra back taxes and it now faces having to increase the cost of every bottle by 10p to cover the extra tax imposed on this type of drink.
Foodswild’s owner, Miles Lavers, said the company was planning to appeal the decision, as it told HMRC what was in the beverage when they started making it and were registered as a beer producer.
“It is just made using natural ingredients, they knew what we were doing here already,” he said.
“If you look on the internet for a nettle beer recipe it tells you what is in it. It is like an alcoholic ginger beer – with a different main ingredient – and brewed in the same way.”
The company has already suffered as 190 cases of the drink were impounded over the busy Christmas period while HMRC decided what it was.
Now, Mr Lavers says, he faces increasing prices or changing the recipe to include malt, which he does not want to do as it would make it unsafe for people with wheat and gluten allergies.
Mr Lavers, 44, his wife Alice, 33, and their three children have been at Green Bank Farm for the last four years.
He said: “We originally started as a foraging business, taking people out on trips finding wild flowers and edible plants.
“I’ve always brewed. I used to go to restaurants taking wild flowers and seaweed to the chefs so I’d ask them to try out whatever I’d brewed.”
His nettle beer is now a staple of the food and drink festival scene in Cornwall and also sells in pubs and restaurants.
HMRC’s website classifies “made-wine” as: “A wide variety of drinks that do not fall under the heading of spirits, wine, beer or cider but are made from the alcoholic fermentation of any substance or the mixing of wine with another substance.
“The category of made-wine also includes those products known as alcoholic carbonates or, more popularly, ‘alcopops’.”
HMRC said it would not comment on the tax affairs of specific companies but spokesman Bob Gaiger said: “The rules concerning the taxation of alcoholic drinks are set out in European legislation (EU Directive 92/83). To qualify as a beer, and therefore be taxed as a beer, a product must be made from malt.
“If a brewer is unhappy with our decision then he can lodge an appeal.”
This story first appeared in the Western Morning News
Beer and music lovers are gearing up for one of the biggest parties of the year as preparations take place for the 12th annual St Austell Brewery Celtic Beer Festival on Saturday, November 27.
Real ale fans are in for an extra special treat as award-winning head brewer Roger Ryman and his team will be using the event as a test-run for a new ale, as yet unnamed, which St Austell Brewery plans to launch in 2011. The new beer is a 3.8% abv full-bodied and easy drinking ale brewed with Cornish water and Cornish-grown barley and featuring peach aromas from Galaxy hops grown near Launceston (Tasmania).
Festival goers will also have the chance to try St Austell Brewery’s Cornish lager Korev (Cornish for Beer) on draught for the first time, along with a fantastic selection of seasonal and specially-brewed ales.
Included among Roger’s special brews are:
• Raisin’s to be cheerful – A spiced Christmas ale with real raisins. Strong, fruity and very festive.
• James’ Flemish Red – A carefully nurture blend of oak aged red ales selected by Master Blender James Vincent. Typical of Flemish Red ales of Flanders in Belgium with a complex vineous aroma and tart, refreshing palate.
• Chocolate Wheat – A Bavarian style Dunkel Weiss, with added whole chocolate, cinnamon and Caraco orange.
• Bullseye Bitter – A medium bodied pale ale with golding and English Target hops. Here’s what you could have won!
Together with the Brewery’s range of award winning ales there will be more than 100 great beers from across the UK and Europe’s Celtic regions at the festival, which also features a line-up of eight live bands from midday to 11pm.
The event will be held in the atmospheric surroundings of the old wine cellars and vaults beneath the Victorian brewery and its historic rum store.
Last year the hugely popular event attracted a record 3,000 beer and music lovers, and raised an amazing £12,000 for the St Austell Brewery Charitable Trust, which donates thousands of pounds to deserving causes across Devon and Cornwall each year.
Roger said: “We are all looking forward to this year’s beer festival, which has become a must-visit event in Cornwall’s social diary. It’s one of the biggest parties of the year – last year people were queuing out of the door – and there’s always a fantastic atmosphere.
“The brewing team have all been working hard coming up with new brews to delight the crowds and we can’t wait to hear what people think!”
Live music on the day will come from 3 Daft Monkeys, Martin Skewes, Mr Postman, Mosquitoes, 3 Minute Warning, Mark and the Acrobats, Grey Dog, Gallow Glass and Lenny’s Sing-a-long.
Food will be provided by a team of Brewery chefs – all using fresh Cornish produce.
The St Austell Brewery Celtic Beer Festival takes place between 11am and 11pm on Saturday November 27. Tickets are £10 per person (available at the door) and include a polycarbonate commemorative pint glass, programme and three drinks tokens. Extra drinks tokens are available at £1.25 for each half pint / £2.50 a pint.