Business and Planning Bill must include small breweries

House of Lords 13th July 2020

Today (13th July 2020) speaking in the Business and Planning Bill Chris warned that, if changes were not made to the legislation, hundreds of small business’ in the brewing trade may needlessly go out of business.

In response to Covid-19 this relaxation of licensing laws for breweries, pubs and the wider hospitality sector to automatically extend premises licences to allow sales of alcohol off the premises is welcome.

However, hundreds of small breweries find themselves completely locked out, unable to serve their product to the public, successful business’ facing bankruptcy for want of small, doable, legislative changes.

Chris said:

“The situation, for hundreds of small breweries is, currently, precarious.”

“These breweries are facing a bleak, if not no,  future for want of simple changes to the legislation which would enable them to share in the unlock and have a successful summer.”

The current difficulties are caused by the fact that:

  • Some breweries do not have a premises licence and cannot offer takeaway and delivery directly to the public. This Bill will not help them during the Covid-19 crisis.
  • 1 in 4 breweries (around 500 of the 2000 breweries in the UK) do not currently have any way to sell directly to the public.
  • Small breweries have seen their sales reduced 65-82% because of Covid-19 and have not received the same level of financial support as pubs and the hospitality sector, such as the Business Rate holiday or £25,000 grant.

Chris proposed several amendments to the Bill. He said:

“65% of small breweries have been mothballed during Covid-19. Trade during the summer months will be vital for their survival.  We have the opportunity to make small changes to this legislation,  enabling them to trade successfully going forward.”

“We could do such a service for small breweries, if we legislated for an extension to the licencing relaxation to allow small independent breweries who currently cannot sell directly to the public to be able to do so on a temporary basis.”

“The innovation, ingenuity and hard work we have seen from the small brewers, over the past decade has been impressive.  New brands, flavours and concepts have brought new generations and sectors of society into, not only the product, but the methods of production and community centred approach that many of these business’ have taken since they were established.”

“Small legislative changes will make a big difference to our breweries, we owe it to them to bring them into the Bill.”

Read the Business and Planning Bill and all documents here.