Independent Brewers Need Urgent ‘Roadmap Out Of Lockdown’ If Pubs Are To Open And Businesses To Be Saved

A new survey shows that independent breweries in the UK have been left high and dry by Government, and if pubs are to open in July as proposed then a ‘roadmap out of lockdown’ is urgently needed for the hospitality industry from Number 10.

The results from the survey of brewers in the UK, conducted by the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) and highlighted in the infographic below, show that many are struggling financially as a result of Coronavirus and the closure of the pubs and hospitality industry.

The survey found a whopping 84% expect the Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent social distancing measures to have a lasting negative impact on their business and 80% believe the Government are not doing enough to support small breweries.

The survey found a staggering 90% of the UK’s independent brewers think the large multinational brewers stand to increase their market share as a result Covid-19, directly to the detriment of small independents. Competition on price, on ‘soft loans’ tying down publicans to bland mass market beer and worries about buying choices of pubs are huge concerns in breweries around the UK.

97% of brewers can be ready to supply pubs by the proposed July 4th opening, but only if the Prime Minister offers a roadmap and guidance on social distancing imminently – brewers need at least 3 weeks notice to open and the clock is ticking. The message to Government on social distancing from brewers was clear: Half of brewers think most pubs aren’t economically viable with social distancing at all but a further 47% said they’re only viable at 1m of social distance.

James Calder, SIBA Chief Executive said;

“Getting pubs reopened quickly and safely is simply the first step on the road to recovery for small brewers – for others irreparable damage has already been done. Breweries have not received the same levels of financial support from Government as the rest of the sector, the global brewers are looking to eat our lunch and we face a hugely different, unpredictable and chaotic marketplace when things do re-open.

Last week SIBA and a cross party group of MPs wrote to the Chancellor calling on him to do more to give our sector a fighting chance:

“We and a cross party group of MPs who love independent beer need Government to commit to a clear timetable and guidance of pubs re-opening, slash beer duty and extend business rates grants and support to breweries otherwise the investment Government has made through furlough will go to waste. Opening pubs on the 4th July is a national priority, but without quality beer from local, independent breweries on the bar, what is the point?” Calder added.