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Press Release

04/04/2020

Dodds urged to open hospitality grants scheme up to drinks producers to save NI brewing industry from collapse

For more information, contact press on 01727 337 863 or email press@camra.org.uk

Consumer group CAMRA NI calls for COVID-19 grants to be given to local independent brewers in face of pub and restaurant closures and a ban on selling beer online.

The Economy Minister Diane Dodds MLA is expected to open the Executive’s scheme offering £25,000 grants for companies in the retail, tourism and hospitality sectors next week. 

Businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 will be eligible – but it is unclear whether local independent beer and cider producers will be in line to receive the funding.

Commenting, Chair of CAMRA NI Ruth Sloan said:

“Our small, independent producers tell CAMRA that they have lost up to 70% of their businesswhich came from pubs and restaurants serving locals and tourists alike. Firms are now facing £100,000s in lost orders.

“Social distancing means the business model for breweries just isn’t sustainable – but outdated laws prevent them from selling beer and cider online for home delivery so they can’t find other ways to sell their products – even though internet sales would be sensible and allow people to buy beer and support local businesses without leaving the house.

“The Executive’s small business grants of £10,000 will be welcome news for those smaller brewing businesses who qualify, but questions remain over the £25,000 grants for hospitality firms and whether this will include brewers and cider-makers.

“The Minister really must offer this support to these local drinks businesses by opening up these grants to brewers – otherwise it could spell the end of NI’s independently produced beer and cider.”

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Media Contact:

CAMRA Press Office:
press@camra.org.uk
01727 337863

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, is a not-for-profit consumer group with over 192,000 members that has been operating since 1971. Our vision is to have quality real ale and thriving pubs in every community.

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