The British Beer and Pub Association Criticizes Government’s Refusal to Extend Measures to Help Struggling Pubs
Pubs in the UK will no longer be allowed to sell takeaway pints starting from the end of next month. The government has decided to let the rules, which were introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic, expire. Takeaway alcohol was initially introduced in 2020 as a way to support pubs during lockdowns and safety restrictions caused by the spread of the virus.
Pubs with an on-site alcohol license quickly adopted the option as an additional revenue stream. They served many pints through hatches when they were forced to close their premises. However, the government has chosen not to extend the rules allowing for takeaway pints after receiving only 174 responses during a consultation. This decision has been met with disappointment by the British Beer and Pub Association.
When the current rules expire on 30 September, pubs will need to apply for permission from their local council if they wish to continue selling takeaway alcohol. The Home Office stated that councils, drinks retailers, and residents’ groups preferred a return to pre-COVID rules. However, industry groups representing pubs and landlords argue that this decision will result in unnecessary regulation, with no guarantee that councils will approve applications for license changes for individual premises.
Last week, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who does not consume alcohol, faced heckling at the Great British Beer Festival in London. He claimed that alcohol duty reforms were supporting British pubs, but his visit coincided with an alcohol duty increase. A publican who heckled Mr. Sunak criticized him for having the audacity to visit the festival, stating that many breweries have shut down in the past year due to significant increases in alcohol duty.
The British Beer and Pub Association has expressed disappointment with the government’s decision not to extend the rules allowing for takeaway pints. Pubs will now have to seek permission from their local council if they want to continue selling takeaway alcohol. Industry groups argue that this decision will result in unnecessary regulation and uncertainty for individual premises. The Prime Minister’s recent visit to a beer festival was met with heckling due to an increase in alcohol duty. The future of pubs and breweries remains uncertain as they continue to face challenges in the post-pandemic recovery.