Kiwi brewers claim unfair playing field in Aussie market

Kiwi brewers exporting to Australia are complaining that tax conditions favour the Australian craft beer industry and breach rules of trade.

They may have lots of their own beers, but across the Tasman beer made in New Zealand is in hot demand.

Pete Gillespie's beers were basically born in the back shed. But these days Wellington's Garage Project brewery is on a roll.

"We've got a huge almost cult following in Australia," Mr Gillespie, who's head brewer for Garage Project, told ONE News.

New Zealand beer exports are on the up with Kiwi producers now sending three times more beer across the Tasman than they did in 2010.

"We love New Zealand brewers. We love New Zealand beer. We've got no issue there," says Richard Adamson, director of Young Henry's brewery in Sydney.

But it's not enough love to give Kiwis a break when it comes to tax. Right now, brewers on the other side of the Tasman can claim up to $30,000 in rebates. And in a submission to Australia's Government, the New Zealand Brewers Guild has asked for the same.

"To argue that Australian brewers have got a unfair advantage in the Australian market against New Zealand importers of beer doesn't really hold water," Mr Adamson says.

In fact, breweries like Young Henrys claim their tax break should be increased to $100,000 but New Zealand should still be left out. "Well, they're asking for an edge," Mr Henry says.

Not according to our brewers, who say the Closer Economic Relations trade agreement dictates the playing field should be the same.

Mr Gillespie says New Zealand beer ends up being quite expensive on the Australian shelf. "It's not like we'd be coming in and undercutting them on price."

We'll leave it to the consumer to decide who's got the edge in taste.

Kiwi brewers exporting to Australia complain tax conditions favour the Australian craft beer industry. Source: 1 NEWS