A COLD one will cost more cold hard cash as Australia's beer tax hikes again.
Drinkers will fork out $2.26 per litre of alcohol from Monday, with the automatic CPI increase set to rise every six months.
It's especially tough news for small brewers like The Welder's Dog in Armidale, head brewer Phil Stevens said even with a $100,000 tax rebate the tax still stings.
"It feels like revenue raising on a big industry, there's been an archaic tax regime for a long time and a fair overhaul would mean a large loss in revenue," he said.
"I think what they should be doing is increasing the refund to encourage more smaller businesses to make better beer than the big guys to mass produce and print their big beers."
Brewers eligible for the rebate can claim a refund of 60 per cent of the exise duty they have paid on products up to a maximum of $100,000.
Australians pay more in beer tax than most other countries, at least 17 times more than Germany, 15 times more than Spain and seven times more than our American cousins - who pay just $0.31 per litre.
Brewers Association of Australia chief executive Brett Heffernan said the cost is getting to the point where it's beyond the reach of ordinary people.
"By far the biggest cost in the price of a typical Australian beer is tax," he said.
"It's not the ingredients, production costs, advertising, transport or even retail overheads and profits.
"It's Australian Government Tax."
More than 40 per cent of the retail price of a carton of beer is tax.
A $52 carton of beer with 4.9 per cent alcohol will see $21.84 go to the tax man.
The beer tax has increased every six months for the last 35 years, the latest is the 71st consecutive price hike. A freeze on the tax isn't enough, Mr Hofferman said.
"Simply freezing the six-monthly CPI increases will only lock-in the unreasonably high tax Australians are already paying," he said. "The rate of beer tax needs to be addressed if punters are to get genuine relief."
The Leader contacted a St Vincent de Paul alcohol abuse counsellor about the impact of the beer tax, but they declined to comment.