Long Live the Local

The challenge was simple. To reverse the increase in beer duty, which was set to rise by 3.4% in the autumn budget and then every year for the foreseeable future. A rise that posed a serious threat to Britain’s Beer Alliance (BBA) and the prosperity of its 120 members, including founding global brewers AB InBev, Carlsberg, Heineken and Molson Coors.

To convince Philip Hammond that any rise in beer duty would be an incredibly unpopular choice, we had to create national groundswell. A campaign that would engage the heart, the head and the hand. Or in other words, a campaign that made people feel, provided the ammunition to justify the cause, and made it easy for them to act. And so, we delved deeper to uncover the real story. The story about pubs and small business. These were the ones feeling the squeeze from beer duty. The planned rise we calculated would cost these pubs an additional £125m per year. Each would pay approximately £44k before they even opened their doors. This was without doubt the biggest challenge they faced right now, as it threatened their very survival. 

We uncovered reports to reveal the cultural significance of the pub and the role they play in the local community. It became starkly apparent that this was the sweet spot to elevate the issue to a level of national importance. Pubs have deservedly earned a reputation as a British institution, both in what they offer us as pub goers and what they do for Britain as a whole. We landed on our strategic proposition: It’s Bigger Than Beer. A proposition that rang true because beer is more than just a commodity. Because pubs are more than just drinking establishments. They are a way of life. An intrinsic part of our national identity, playing an intrinsic role in modern British life.

From this was born the campaign idea: Long Live The Local - the start of a three-year, multi-million-pound campaign to save ‘the local’ - stopping closures and prevent the planned rise in beer tax, simply by putting pressure on the Chancellor himself.

Long Live the Local is an idea that celebrates the life and vitality, and the role that the local pub plays. One that doubles up as a call-to-action and a celebratory toast to everything the pub represents. It is a grassrooted and top down approach to campaigning. It engages the heart to drive action and affect positive change. Giving small businesses a platform to celebrate their contribution to communities, culture and society-at-large. Stopping closures and preventing the planned rise.

The campaign was purposefully designed to drive traffic to the website www.longlivethelocal.pub, where consumers can sign the petition to reject the planned increases in beer duty and send a letter to their local MP at a click of a button.

The results

Our huge campaign amassed 119,776 petition signatures, 49,462 letters sent to all 650 UK MPs and the support of influential industry organisations including CAMRA. The result? We changed Government policy in a matter of months.

I have received numerous representations from my Honourable and Right Honourable friends on one particular subject, and in response I will be freezing beer and cider duty for the next year…keeping the cost of beer down for patrons of the Great British pub

Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer


Long Live the Local

Helping to save "the Local" - pushing consumers to call on the government to cut beer tax. Our online petition has had 119,776 petition signatures, 49,462 letters sent to all 650 UK MPs.

Feel free to get in touch

We'd love to chat


+44 20 3793 3800 tracey.barber@havas.com