To build the awareness of the impact of alcohol on foetal development

Opublikowano: 24 August 2020

To build the awareness of the impact of alcohol on foetal development, the Union of Brewing Industry Employers – Polish Breweries committed itself to educational initiatives aimed at FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) prevention addressed to mothers-to-be and health professionals.

In 2013, the sector decided to launch the label “I Don’t Drink While Pregnant.” Meanwhile, an educational programme addressed to females and the medical community was initiated to highlight the negative impact of drinking in pregnancy and the risk of FAS.

With publicity and promotion of the position taken by the Council of Gynaecological  Experts on the negative impact of alcohol on the developing baby, the message reached more than 400 gynaecologists from all across Poland, while the label “I Never Drink While Pregnant” was distributed in 200,000 educational materials addressed to expectant mothers (1,900 surgeries and 1,600 birth centres).

Activities launched by the Union of Polish Breweries

Opublikowano: 24 August 2020

Activities launched by the Union of Polish Breweries to change the civic approach to driving under the influence and reduce the number of drunk drivers were initiated in 2006 after the signature of the European Road Safety Charter.

To promote sober driving, the brewing sector launched numerous educational programmes aimed at promoting the concept of the designated sober driver among groups of revellers (the campaign “Driving – Not Drinking”) implemented from 2006 until 2008; online community “DRIver Club” ) or encouraging drivers to put the “I Never Drink and Drive” sticker on the tailgate window.

More than 50 organisations and institutions committed themselves to nationwide distribution of stickers. The initiative was supported by public institutions, local governments, MPs dealing with road safety issues, non-governmental organisations, the media, petrol stations, businesses and automotive organisations. 3.2 million stickers were distributed since the campaign went live.

Polish Breweries have championed numerous educational activities that strived to prevent the access of minors to alcohol.

Opublikowano: 24 August 2020

Consumers (the campaign “React When a Minor is Buying Alcohol. Your Objection Makes a Difference” implemented from 2004 until 2008);

parents (the campaign “React When Your Child Tries Alcohol”);

vendors and liquor store owners (the campaign “Alcohol – Underage Access Denied” implemented from 2003 until 2008; the campaign “Appearances May be Deceptive, ID is Not” and “Responsible Vendor” training platform launched in 2014).

With implemented initiatives, the educational message reached: 450,000 points of sale, more than 455,000 parents, nearly 150,000 teachers, approx. 38,000 trained sales assistants and almost 600 local governments.

The position of the Management Board of the Union of Brewing Industry Employers in Poland – Polish Brewers on plans to increase beer excise duty by 10%

Opublikowano: 14 November 2019

Higher prices for consumers, a decline in sales, uncertain budgetary revenue

An increase in beer excise duty by 10% will trigger a rise in beer prices, a slump in sales, lower-than-expected budgetary revenue and the risk of losing jobs related to beer production and sales in Poland.

It is with great consternation that we have learnt of the government bill, announced today without public consultations, that increases the rate of the beer excise duty by 10%, an amount three times higher than originally projected.

In line with the draft government budget for 2020 adopted in September this year by the Council of Ministers and the official position presented by the Ministry of Finance, the brewery sector has expected an increase in beer excise duty by 3% from 2020. Such change in the rate of the excise duty was also presented in the National Multi-Annual Financial Plan 2019-2022 adopted by the Council of Ministers this April and submitted by Poland to the European Commission.

We have reiterated on multiple occasions that a higher-than-planned increase in excise duty will lead to a radical reduction in the economic impact of the industry, a decrease in the production volume and job losses. A rise in the rate will become a factor that will stifle development of the beer category and reduce the competitive edge of Polish beer.

The currently announced increase in the excise duty should be also considered in a broader perspective. In addition to the higher excise duty, the brewing industry is facing many other major cost challenges, including significantly higher labour costs, proposed amendments in social insurance contribution, higher raw material and energy costs, etc. A great many cost pressures accumulated over the same period of time may lead to a stagnation or even a downturn in the brewing industry, what may in turn have a negative impact on the employment level and is likely to reduce the revenue of the state budget.

We should keep in mind that beer production and sales create 157,000 jobs in various sectors of the Polish economy – in packaging production, transport, trade, gastronomy and agriculture. We estimate that a possible decline in the volume of beer production will particularly affect 22,000 people employed in agriculture and food processing that supply the Polish brewing sector with hops and cereal and trade where beer provides 48,000 people with a source of income. These are usually small stores as beer is marketed in Poland in 85,000 points of sale, including 78,000 small-format stores which are often small family-run businesses.

We are convinced that following an increase in beer prices triggered by a dramatic rise in the excise duty and consequent slump in the sales volume, it will be impossible to ensure the projected revenue for the state budget. The sector was affected by the negative fallout of increased beer excise duty in 2009. The beer market contracted by more than 4%, while employment in production and sales was down by 24% with budgetary revenue twice as lower than projected. It took three years for the brewing sector to restore the market to the pre-increase level.

This experience clearly shows that a substantial change in the excise duty stifles development of the beer category, diminishes the sector’s economic impact and compromises the competitive edge of beer brewed in Poland. All the more so as this change is unexpected, what destabilises operations of the entire sector. Planning our activities for 2020, we assumed an increase in the excise duty by 3% as announced in two key government documents. A three-fold increase announced six weeks before the new year makes it impossible for us to make proper plans for the next year as production, sales, raw material purchases, etc. in the brewing industry are planned many months or even a year in advance.

Already today the brewing sector in Poland is the largest payer of the excise duty in the European Union after the United Kingdom and France. Polish beer consumers pay 2.5-fold higher excise duty than residents of Germany and several dozen times higher than Czechs and Slovaks. Beer made in Poland generates EUR 829.4 million worth of revenue for the state budget, an amount higher by 25% versus Germany where beer production is more than double.

We are the third largest beer producer in Europe and the largest payer of excise duty in the region. Currently, beer excise duty in Poland totals EUR 22/hl and is nearly higher by 240% compared to Germany (EUR 9.4/hl), by 50% versus the Czech Republic (EUR 14.69) and by 28% than the excise duty rate in Slovakia (EUR 17.22/hl). A further increase in the Polish beer excise duty will compromise the competitiveness of the product brewed in our country compared to beer from neighbouring markets. This will increase its uncontrolled imports which is permitted by EU regulations as anyone may bring 110 litres of beer from another country for their own use. A similar situation took place on the Estonian market where it led to a decline of the local beer market.

The brewing sector in Poland has always been a stable tax payer as well as a predictable and reliable partner for the government. Which is why we expect arguments we have presented to be treated seriously. It is unacceptable to have such substantial change like the amendment of the excise duty rate introduced by surprise and contrary to publicly announced plans and drafts. Such decision requires thorough consultations and a reliable evaluation of impact conducted together with all stakeholders within the framework of the Social and Civil Dialogue. We appeal to the government to respect previously adopted assumptions and persistently uphold the adopted 3 per cent increase which was announced on multiple occasions.


The position of the Union of Brewing Industry Employers in Poland – “Polish Breweries” regarding the proposed amendments limiting beer advertising

Opublikowano: 2 October 2017

The Union of Brewing Industry Employers in Poland – “Polish Breweries” expresses its deep concern regarding amendments to the Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Prevention Act proposed by the Ministry of Health which strive to drastically reduce legal air time for beer advertising. In our view, this regulation will not contribute to achievement of targets identified by the Ministry of Health, while its major after-effect will be deterioration of conditions for doing business by the brewing industry and related sectors.

The reduced time limit for beer advertising proposed by the Ministry of Health is a superficial solution, relatively easy to implement, which yet fails to solve problems related to excessive and harmful consumption of alcohol that affects a portion of the Polish society. The overwhelming majority of Poles use alcohol reasonably and moderately.  Alcohol abuse is an issue which refers to merely several percent of adult population which mainly consumes spirits, not beer. We do agree that special preventive schemes should be addressed to this group, but we cannot assume that moving beer advertising to a later time slot will effectively solve this issue.

The Union of the Brewery Industry Employers “Polish Breweries” is convinced that beer advertising should not be linked with the consumption level. Despite an increase in total air time, which has also been prompted by a rise in the number of TV channels, for many years beer consumption has been stable in Poland at 97-99 litres per capita. The Polish beer market is saturated, mature and highly competitive. Producers use advertising to build the competitive advantage of their brands and communicate their latest products to the market; it is thus not a vehicle deployed to expand the market itself which has been stable and demonstrated no growth for the past five years. Meanwhile, beer advertising is a driver of positive beer culture and moderate consumption. It contributes to development of a positive trend to replace strong beer with alcohol-free beer or beer with lower alcohol content.

Polish legislation relevant to beer advertising is among the most restrictive ones in the European Union. Most EU states impose no restrictions in this respect, or introduce fewer constraints than those implemented in Poland. Constraints to beer advertising in Poland include both the time slot in which commercials may be aired (from 8pm until 6am) and limitations concerning the content of commercials. Moreover, the brewing industry in Poland has introduced a number of voluntary self-regulations, mainly to boost the protection of minors and prevent irresponsible alcohol consumption by pregnant females and drivers. Further restrictions are groundless and will not deliver expected outcomes. In reality, moving beer commercial to a later time slot beyond 11pm stands for the ultimate ban on beer commercials.

Withdrawal of advertising budgets of beer manufacturers from television networks may lead to a number of consequences that go beyond the media and marketing sector. A substantial loss in revenue will be declared by television networks, including public television, what will threaten jobs in sectors related to production of commercials. Negative fallout may also affect fiscal revenue: The Student Sport and Recreation Fund whose beneficiaries include more than 90,000 children will be actually wound up.

Comprehensive prevention of negative phenomena related to alcohol abuse must take into consideration consumption patterns relevant to different categories of alcohol and their actual impact on harmful alcohol consumption. The proposal which further reduces the legal time limit for beer advertising will boost the appeal of spirits, and especially small and ready-to-drink spirit drinks (bottles up to 200 ml).

It should, however, be stressed here that legal beer advertising was greenlighted by the policy adopted in the 90-ties which strove to shift consumption from liquor to beverages with lower alcohol content (Art. 10 of the Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol Prevention Act). Over the last dozen years, this policy managed to effectively modify the structure of consumption of alcoholic beverages and the drinking culture.  Working towards elimination of beer advertising is tantamount to implementation of proposals of the spirit industry, what marks an attempt at reversing this trend. Meanwhile, data of The World Health Organisation reveal that not only the consumption of alcohol per capita in Poland has gone down to become lower than in countries where spirits dominate, but also dropped below figures for the Czech Republic, Belgium, Slovakia or the United Kingdom.

The Union of Brewing Industry Employers in Poland – “Polish Breweries” stresses that the prerequisite to the successful economic growth of the industry and related sectors is stable legislation conductive to investments and stable employment.

We share your concern about public health and agree that it is essential to launch measures that prevent such practices like underage sale of alcohol or alcohol consumption in public places.  However, we are determined to reinforce the role of the state in solving social and health issues, but in the most effective manner that is adequately addressed to the audience in need. We are open to cooperation in this area. Being a socially responsible sector, for many years we have been implementing numerous educational programmes to limit such negative practices like underage sale of alcohol, alcohol use by expectant mothers or driving under influence. We have been advocating responsible and moderate consumption on many occasions. The brewing sector in Poland is voluntarily communicating ingredients, the nutritional characteristics and energy value to consumers, or information the amendment drafted by the Ministry of Health plans to regulate.

We appeal to public authorities to thoroughly analyse all consequences of proposed regulations and initiate a dialogue that embraces all aspects of the advocated act.


Warsaw, 2 October 2017