Brewery employees could lose their jobs as a result of the revocation of the Beer Orders.
The Transport and General Workers' Union (T&G), which represents 85 per cent of workers in the brewing industry, has warned axing the orders could have a devastating effect on small brewers.
Brian Revell, T&G national organiser with responsibility for the brewing industry, said he feared there would now be further concentration in the trade which could impact on small brewers, reduce consumer choice and cut jobs.
He said: "The Beer Orders have been an absolute disaster. However, after 10 years of disruption a certain stability has been achieved in the industry.
"We have many members in many small breweries who benefit from the guest beer clauses and we feel this repeal of the Beer Orders will have a negative impact on their sales.
"We feel that more small breweries will find it harder to compete and we are likely to move to a situation where there are fewer breweries, less consumer choice and fewer jobs."
Beer Orders to be revoked (20 February 2002)
What are the Beer Orders? (21 February 2002)
Opinions from the trade on the withdrawal of the Beer Orders (21 February 2002)