Takeaway alcohol U-turn ‘lifeline for trade'

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Alcohol, ukhospitality, Government, Takeaway, Siba

The Government’s partial U-turn on rules around takeaway drinks amid the second lockdown has been welcomed by trade bodies.

In regulations​ issued last night (Tuesday 3 November), the Government stated pubs can serve takeaway alcohol if customers order online, via phone, text or post and on the basis they do not enter the pub, alongside delivery of drinks.

This followed calls from the trade to overturn the Government’s decision that pubs could not offer takeaway alcohol.

Valuable community service

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “It is a welcome and helpful clarification that restaurants and pubs will be permitted to continue with off-licence sales of alcohol through delivery, click and collect and takeaway for pre-ordered sales. Having that channel of revenue was a lifeline to many businesses in the first lockdown.

“This also means that the valuable community service that pubs, in particular, provide to communities, can be sustained during a second lockdown, the prospect of which will be concerning many vulnerable and lonely people who suffered during the first lockdown. The delivery and collection provisions also represent a common sense approach to minimising waste. That those venues can also open as a shop, including as an off licence, is also welcome.

“It is a relief to have sight of this guidance – yet again, venues have precious little time in which to digest and implement them. A vital element to the successful application of the guidance, at short notice, will be clear local authority guidance on their enforcement, so that venues have confidence that there will be consistency across England.”

Responsible trading

A spokesperson for the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) said the Government clarifying its stance on takeaway beer was welcome.

“[The] Government has also made clear in the guidance that brewery shops can remain open and operate as off-licenses, meaning bottled and canned beer from small breweries can be sold via on-site shops without pre-order,” they explained. 

“Small independent breweries and community pubs have proven their ability to trade responsibly during Covid-19 and this new guidance will allow them to prepare their businesses for safe continued trading ahead of Thursday’s lockdown."

“Pubs and small breweries are intrinsically linked, with 80% of beer from small independent brewers heading to pubs, and we would like to thank the Government for their flexibility in allowing pubs to sell takeaway beer in a Covid-safe and practical manner via pre-orders.”

Related topics: Legislation

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