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Scottish Alcohol Advertising Ban Could Threaten Small Independent Breweries

The ability for small Scottish breweries to start up, innovate and create a brand is under threat under the Scottish Government’s plans to restrict alcohol advertising and promotion.

The far-reaching Scottish ban could end up preventing popular beer festivals from going ahead and even end tap takeovers or meet the brewer events. Whilst restricting alcohol branded websites could stop small breweries from selling and advertising their beer online including via their webshops. Small Scottish breweries could also be prevented from raising much needed funds for charities or other local good causes or supporting grassroots sports clubs.

This is according to the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), who highlight how the proposals, if implemented in full, will stifle small producers in Scotland leading to fewer direct and indirect jobs in the supply chains which support them and harming Scotland’s international reputation for quality drinks producers. This is despite the fact that the Society of Independent Brewers and their members have been long-time supporters of responsible drinking initiatives and campaigns.

In its submission to the consultation which closes today (Thursday 9 March 2023), SIBA outlines its support for measures that target the harmful use of alcohol where there is clear evidence that it does so. However the trade group illustrates how the proposals run counter to the Scottish Government’s stated strategy to see Scotland’s food and drink industry to continue growing and bringing benefits to Scotland including jobs, wealth and international renown.

“Scotland’s small independent breweries are renown for producing some of the most innovative and exciting beers which are enjoyed the world over by responsible drinkers. They are at the heart of their local communities, supporting local pubs and shops. This is now under threat by the Scottish Government’s radical and extensive proposed ban on promotions and advertising,” said Andy Slee, SIBA Chief Executive.

These ideas come at a time when the sector is facing threats from every direction including the onerous Deposit Return Scheme and a cost of living crisis. Small breweries need greater support not more barriers to trade.”