Lion has decided not to pass on increases to beer prices following the Australian Government’s latest round of tax hikes on beer.
The Australian beer tax is currently $2.26 per litre, but will increase on August 1. There has been widespread industry condemnation of the increase in light of the difficulties faced by the on-premise and brewers during COVID-19.
Brewers Association of Australia chief Brett Heffernan told AAP it was the wrong time to put further pressure the sector by increasing beer prices.
“The last thing people need is for beer tax to go up again in August,” he said.
“If we’re to fire the starter’s gun on the economy we have to dump the excise baggage.”
Lion’s National Sales Director Mark Powell wrote to customers saying: “In recognition that collectively we have faced bushfires, COVID-19 and a cyber attack, Lion is going to keep things simple and hold our prices flat this August.
“It’s another step to help our customers through a challenging year.
“This means no changes to our list prices for pack and draught beer and cider for the remainder of the year.”
Lion is also helping venues in Victoria make the switch to selling takeaway beers again by providing growlers, caps, dispensers and point of sale kits to those choosing to remain open.
Cyber attack setback
Lion confirmed on June 26 that all its breweries were back up and running following a cyber attack earlier in the month.
The cyber attack and IT system outage was caused by ransomware that targeted Lion’s computer systems. In response, the company immediately shut down key systems as a precaution.
“We are now brewing, kegging, packaging and distributing beer at our nine major breweries across Australia and New Zealand,” Lion said.
“Despite this progress, we do still expect to see some further disruptions as we continue to restore systems. We will continue to work with our team of experts to complete this work as quickly as possible, minimising any further disruptions, including to supply.
“The timing of this attack – just as the hospitality industry is trying to get back on its feet post COVID-19 closures – could not have been more challenging for Lion and our industry partners.
“As we progress our recovery efforts, it is our number one priority to get back to our usual high standards of service levels before this cyber attack, and support our many valued business partners in what we hope will be a better second half of 2020.