Neema, who runs Battersea Barge & Tamesis Dock in Central London, urged Jeremy Hunt to support the spirit industry at the autumn statement next week by freezing the duty on spirits.
She said: “The Treasury risks killing off the renaissance in British spirits and sending pubs and bars back to the un-inspiring days of the 80s.
“Their approach must take into account the huge leap of progress that the country has made across the board with its burst of independent craft breweries and distillers which has been one of its great success stories.
“While they have supported the beer industry, they must also support the spirit industry so that they can also have all the tools to survive and thrive”
Neema, 50, said drinkers have embraced a shift to lighter spirit-based drinks made with local ingredients in local distilleries.
She added: “We sell a lot of great beers, but we have just as many customers who chose a gin and tonic, a spritz or another cocktail. They drink fewer, higher-quality drinks – because they want that memorable experience.
“Spirits make up one third of all alcoholic drinks served in hospitality settings.
“Policies and tax must reflect and support modern day drinking, entrepreneurship, and growth.
“The Government risks penalising a big group of drinkers and undermining a British business success story. To support the current emergence and transformation of pubs and bars, the Government should support the spirits sector and get behind Britain’s world-famous hospitality industry. In the Autumn statement, alongside distillers, we urge the Chancellor to back a duty freeze on spirits.”
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