The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has criticised the Government’s latest “unjustified” restrictions, which prevents pubs and breweries from selling takeaway beer over the national lockdown period.

James Calder, SIBA Chief Executive said: “As if a second national lockdown in England wasn’t disastrous enough for pubs and independent breweries, Government have gone further this time around and introduced an unjustified restriction banning pubs from selling takeaway beer, a service which was the only source of income for many businesses during the summer lockdown.

“This is baffling considering supermarkets will presumably still be allowed to sell packaged beer, whilst small breweries and pubs will not.

“It is nonsensical to impose these new restrictions when pubs have time and time again proved that they are Covid secure, both during lockdown when takeaway was their only option and since pubs re-opened on the 4th July. 

“After discussions with Ministers and Departments over the weekend we’re aware that this is being considered now by members of the Cabinet and need the Government to urgently clarify the following, before regulations are put to Parliament on Wednesday:

1.    That pubs can continue to sell takeaway alcohol. If not, provide us the evidence for why they cannot. 
2.    Clarify that online sales from breweries, delivered to consumers homes can continue as they did throughout lockdown. 
3.    Clarify that breweries with an on site shop operating click and collect or brewery pickup can continue to sell beer to consumers. 
4.    That bottle shops and shops run in brewery premises should be considered, like off-licenses, as essential retail and allowed to remain trading. 

Government has time and time again failed the independent brewing sector by not providing the support we need. We now need to see, in addition to this clarification: 

1.    The evidence that pubs are a major source of the transmission of the virus, justifying their closure. 
2.    An extension of business rate holidays and grants to Breweries 
3.    An extension of the VAT cut to 5% for independent brewery beer
4.    Full and identical support offered to breweries that has been, and will be offered to pubs. “