Breweries call for grants with united beer disposal

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Down the drain: brewers marked a year of lost trade and called for targeted Government grant support (image: Getty/Richard Johnson)
Down the drain: brewers marked a year of lost trade and called for targeted Government grant support (image: Getty/Richard Johnson)

Related tags: Beer, Brewery

Brewers marked a year of lost trade earlier today (23 March) by collectively filming themselves pouring beer down the drain.

Brewers across the country took part in the Society of Independent Brewers’ (SIBA) #BrewersDownTheDrain event in an effort to compel Chancellor Rishi Sunak to introduce grant support for breweries, similar to the Scottish Government's grants of up to £30,000.

One of the brewers to participate was Richard Niasby from Milton Brewery in Cambridgeshire, who told The Morning Advertiser​ that Government support had been “discretionary and arbitrary” with local authorities taking different approaches.

Disproportionate response

“The whole world has had to adapt to the pandemic but some sectors have received plenty of support while in others the official response has been little short of malice," Niasby said.

“As a cask-only brewery we are now hoping that people, deprived of a proper pint, will come back to our pub gardens, then pubs in general, in sufficient numbers to ensure our survival.”

The brewer also wants the same business rates relief offered to hospitality businesses, backdated to include last year.

“Only then will we have seen the levels of support given to the likes of Waitrose or Marks & Spencer,” he said.

Brewers shared videos of beer being poured away on social media and called for others to sign a petition to the Government.

Brewery sales director Dan Baxter said the pandemic had hit the brewery hard.

“We count ourselves incredibly lucky to have survived as a business this past year," Baxter explained. "This has only been possible thanks to the overwhelming support of our customers, which has been truly humbling, and the resilience and hard work of our team."

A BEIS spokesperson said: “We have given Local Authorities more than £2bn to help businesses such as breweries as part of this grant scheme. But this is just part of a much wider and unprecedented £352bn support package including furlough, grants, loan schemes, business rates holidays and VAT deferral which breweries are eligible for.  

“We understand how difficult the pandemic has been for individuals and businesses and our priority remains to protect people’s jobs and livelihoods as we build back better.”

Related topics: Beer

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