French Beer Tax Affects Summer Consumption

French beer drinkers are suffering tremendously from a tax hike.

According to The Local, the French government decided in January to increase the tax on beer by 160 percent, and since then, customers are paying on average 14 percent more for a "demi" or a "pinte," according to the organization of brewers in France, Les Brasseurs de France. President François Hollande of France says the tax is necessary to fund social programs while the government is using its funds to fix the public debt.

The start of the summer usually brings in an increased trade for brewers, but this year, there has been a reported 16.4 percent drop in production of beer for hotels and cafés and 20.5 percent fall in production of beer for supermarkets. This has caused a 15 percent drop of consumption in cafés and restaurants and 4 percent drop in supermarkets in the first three months of the year.

Not only are the French fed up with their beer regulations, but Belgium has been contemplating launching an official complaint against France with the European Commission, finding that France is being protectionist and that the rise in taxes will have a negative impact on Belgian jobs.

France's beer consumption has been declining for the past 30 years; the average French person drinks about 30 liters of beer, putting them in 26th place in Europe for beer consumption.