1 in 10 small brewers wouldn't survive two-week lockdown, SIBA warns

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Sector warning: 'We’re likely to see millions of pints poured down the drain and many hundreds of businesses failing if new restrictions are brought in and no further support is forthcoming,' says SIBA boss James Calder
Sector warning: 'We’re likely to see millions of pints poured down the drain and many hundreds of businesses failing if new restrictions are brought in and no further support is forthcoming,' says SIBA boss James Calder

Related tags: Beer, Brewing, Siba, Legislation

A tenth of small brewers would not be able to survive a rumoured two-week circuit breaker, the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has said.

Furthermore, a survey from the trade body also revealed 81% would run out of cash within three months if a 2020 style lockdown was implemented.

Small brewers saw a drop in sales of almost half (45%) during the key Christmas period in 2020 and the UK lost 160 active brewers last year.

Previous surveys from SIBA revealed just a third (33%) of breweries were able to access funding under the Local Restrictions Support Grants or the Additional Restrictions Grants.

Sales decimated

In addition, small brewers also accumulated Covid debts of about £30,000 each, which need to be repaid.

The trade body has called for the Government to commit to supporting small brewing businesses across the UK and mirror the Brewers’ Support Fund introduced in Scotland during the previous lockdown.

SIBA chief executive James Calder said: “December should be a booming period for the beer and pubs industry, with venues full and breweries working flat out to keep up with demand, the profits of which help brewers survive the notoriously quiet post-festive period.

“But this year, those sales have been decimated as people stay away from hospitality due to a lack of clarity from the Government and varying levels of Covid measures across the UK.

“We’re likely to see millions of pints poured down the drain and many hundreds of businesses failing if new restrictions are brought in and no further support is forthcoming.”

Growth stripped back

He went on to warn that without targeted and direct Government support for small breweries, a tenth will run out of cash during a two-week circuit breaking and many more would not be far behind.

Calder added: “Brewing has been one of the UK’s great manufacturing success stories in recent years but without Government support we could see a decade’s worth of growth stripped back by another lockdown.

“We can absolutely be part of a vibrant recovery in 2022, but only if Government act now.”

Related topics: Beer

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