Britain's small brewers demand urgent new year action from Boris Johnson

Hundreds of small-scale breweries have called on the Prime Minister to provide greater support for a sector that has been decimated by lockdown.

The breweries argue that much of the support given to the wider hospitality sector has failed to filter through to them. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
The breweries argue that much of the support given to the wider hospitality sector has failed to filter through to them. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

More than 320 independent brewers from across the UK have signed a joint letter from the Society of Independent Brewers to Boris Johnson asking for urgent support.

The breweries have faced harsh restrictions on their businesses over the past ten months and have seen sales plummet by an average of 80 per cent during lockdown. They argue that much of the support given to the wider hospitality sector has failed to filter through to them.

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The firms also say that the UK government is planning a tax increase for brewers with changes to small breweries’ relief – a scheme that helped make it viable for small businesses to compete against global beer makers.

The letter follows the Scottish Government pledging £1.8m for small breweries in Scotland.

James Calder, Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) chief executive, said: “Over three hundred small breweries coming together to write to the Prime Minister will we hope convey the depth of feeling from the independent brewing sector that it has constantly been overlooked, but more so that it is imperative this government acts now or risks setting the British brewing industry back a decade with widespread business closures.

“The hugely important Christmas period has been a joyless one for brewers, as the vast majority of their market is closed yet there has been no compensation and little support forthcoming. The Prime Minister needs to make it his New Year’s resolution to help small breweries.”

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