U-turn on brewery beer sales in lockdown

Small brewers have welcomed a U-turn by the government on lockdown rules in England which means they will now be able to sell beer for takeaway provided it is ordered in advance by phone, web or post.

After England’s second lockdown was announced at the weekend it had initially been indicated that pubs, breweries and brewery taprooms would be barred from selling beer.

But new guidance from the government has overturned that position.

Brewery shops will also be allowed to open with pre-ordering, in line with high street off-licences and supermarkets which are classed as essential under lockdown regulations.

Neil Walker, head of communications at the Society of Independent Brewers said: “It comes as very welcome news that Government have now clarified their stance on takeaway beer and published guidance which shows England’s pubs and independent brewery taprooms can sell beer for takeaway providing it is pre-ordered via phone, web or post.

“Government have also made clear in the guidance that brewery shops can remain open and operate as off-licences, meaning bottled and canned beer from small breweries can be sold via on-site shops without pre-order.

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

Surrey’s Hogs Back was among the first to announce that it would be selling brewery-fresh draught beer – along with cans and bottles – by drive-though, click and collect and local delivery, as it did first time round (pictured).

It said brewery staff members would wear a specially-designed face covering featuring a hog motif.

Contactless payments will be encouraged and it will aim to ensure customer contact with staff is eliminated as much as possible throughout the process. 

Managing director Rupert Thompson said: "Unfortunately, we can't deliver the unique atmosphere of the pub, but we know many of our loyal customers enjoyed beers with friends over Zoom during the last lockdown, so we're expecting these to be restarted.”