Hospitality lockdown putting craft brewers and distillers in jeopardy - Manufacturing NI

Manufacturing NI says craft breweries route to the market has been shut down by Covid-19 restrictions.
Ryan McAleer

THE north’s burgeoning brewers and distillers need greater opportunity to sell their products during the latest lockdown, a trade body has said.

Manufacturing NI said craft brewers, distillers and cider makers are being unfairly hindered and disadvantaged during the four-week closure of hospitality premises.

The restrictions only allow alcohol to be sold by off licences and pubs with a court recognised off sales permit up until 8pm.

It means pubs without the legal recognition cannot sell takeaway alcohol products.

While suppliers may be eligible for cash under Stormont's new supply chain scheme, the head of Manufacturing NI Stephen Kelly said the lockdown had significantly curtailed sales opportunities for local craft manufacturers.

The trade body has called for an urgent review of the 8pm curfew and the limited scope of the rules around takeaway sales.

“Our craft brewers, distilleries and cideries are some of the most celebrated parts of our local food and drink scene,” said Mr Kelly.

“But the closure of their route to market through our pubs and restaurants has put them in jeopardy.

“If there are no pubs to sell local craft products; a curfew time in local off-licences; and now that pubs without designated off-sales have had to cease trading, how does the NI Executive think these producers are going to survive?

“The Executive has said that it will do all it can to help, so we must now call on them to lift the ban on local pub off-sales and scrap the curfew for local off-licences so that some level of sales can be achieved and make a real difference for the craft breweries, distillers and cideries.”

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