Backing British Spirits

iNHouse Communications

Client: UK Spirits Alliance & Scotch Whisky Association

The campaign led by iNHouse aimed to prevent an increase in domestic excise duty on Scotch Whisky and other spirits in the Chancellor’s autumn statement of 2023. The campaign operated from August to November, underpinned by a strategy to highlight the economic and political damage a second tax increase would inflict in a challenging economy.

Tactics included media, public affairs, and social media activations, focusing on the economic significance of spirits to the hospitality sector and consumer costs. High-profile engagements, such as Sir Keir Starmer's distillery visits, and mobilizing SME owners to contact MPs, were key in building momentum against the tax increase. Polling data was used to associate the government with high taxation, and surveys of publicans illustrated the critical role of spirits in revenue streams, countering any bias towards beer duty cuts. The campaign successfully influenced The Sun to initiate a public campaign for a duty freeze. Ultimately, the Chancellor froze all alcohol duties, acknowledging the lobbying efforts, which was a significant win valued at approximately £200 million for UK distillers. The creativity of the campaign was evident in various activations like the 'Three Quarters' Scotch Whisky concept to emphasize tax burdens and the use of ad vans for visibility in Westminster. Innovative polling stories and bespoke events further swayed public opinion and political support.