London’s independent brewers have appealed for more government support as they warned their revenues will be knocked because of the new earlier closing time for pubs.
Pubs in England, many of which sell beers from local suppliers, will have a new 10pm closing time from tonight under restrictions aimed at tackling a rise in coronavirus cases.
Ahead of Chancellor Rishi Sunak today revealing a winter economy plan to help protect jobs, brewery firms told the Evening Standard they would like to see more help, including extending the furlough scheme beyond October and extending the business rates holiday.
They also want the government to stop planned changes to the small breweries’ relief that could see many firms have to pay more in beer duty.
Edward Mason, managing director of Hackney-based Five Points Brewing Company, said: “The fear now is not just that many of our trade customers will lose several hours of valuable sales every week, but that overall confidence will be damaged. And we also worry that consumers won’t want to join a throng of people in city centres all being thrown out of every licensed premises at the same time every evening at 10pm.”
Bethany Burrow Atherton, co-founder of Edmonton’s Beerblefish Brewing Company, is forecasting a revenue fall when pubs it supplies close earlier. She warned: “Small breweries have already dealt with Covid-related closures earlier in the year and many are facing a hike in beer duty payments when small brewers’ relief reforms come in in just over a year.”
Steve Ryan, chief executive of Dalston-based 40FT Brewery, said: “Since reopening in July we have been down 50% on last year’s sales and if this week’s orders are anything to go on, we have now been hit again even further.”