A WEST Dorset brewery has hailed MP Oliver Letwin as a ‘beer champion’ after tax on a pint was cut by a penny for the second year in a row.

Palmers Brewery, based in Bridport, invited Mr Letwin for a pint at the recently refurbished George Hotel in South Street to thank him for his role in cutting the duty.

As well as cutting beer duty in the last budget, the government has also scrapped the Beer Duty Escalator, which automatically increased beer duty by two per cent above inflation every year between 2008 and 2012.

Mr Letwin said: “I’m glad that we’ve been able to do something for the pubs in West Dorset, which are an important part of the social life of the place. As pubs begin to be places more and more where food and atmosphere are just as important as the drink, one wants to try to find a way of enabling people to invest and upgrade and that becomes easier if the duty is lower.”

Palmers Brewery was acting in association with the British Beer and Pub Association, the Campaign for Real Ale and the Society of Independent Brewers to honour Mr Letwin as a beer champion and 100 other MPs who supported the reduction in beer duty. Jayson Perfect, tenanted trade director at Palmers Brewery, said: “For the last three years we have held our beer prices for all of our tenants.

“No other brewery that I know of has done that, but we’ve taken a firm view that we want to support our tenants as much as possible and give them the option of making more money so that they can invest in their own business as well.

“It’s all about investment. If you’re not spending money on duty and you’re a sensible company like Palmers, you can also invest in enhancing the quality of your pubs, making them a better place to drink and ultimately selling more beer because more people want to go to those pubs.”

Cleeves Palmer, sales and marketing director at Palmers Brewery, said: “I’m very pleased that beer duty has been cut and I hope it carries on.

“I’m glad the government has finally understood that beer duty had gone up by far too much – 42 per cent in four years.”