New alcohol laws must support local breweries too – CAMRA NI
Responding to the announcement by Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín MLA on updating alcohol licensing laws, Chair of the Campaign for Real Ale Northern Ireland Ruth Sloan said:
“CAMRA NI is really pleased that the Assembly has finally been given a chance to bring our alcohol laws into the 21st century.
“Whilst we would like to have seen a commitment to ending the restrictive ‘surrender principle’, which means no new licences have been created since 1902, pub-goers and beer and cider drinkers will welcome the sensible proposals around more flexible pub opening hours, including at Easter.
“The commitment to introduce a new category of licence for local breweries and cider makers is also good news, as current licensing laws are a huge barrier to expanding these local businesses, creating new jobs and helping local independent breweries making the most of the tourist trade.
“However, the devil will be in the detail. Allowing producers to sell their products online is great news, but we want to make sure that small, local and independent breweries have a fair crack of the whip and can sell at local events and markets, as well as in brewery shops and taprooms.
“MLAs need to make sure this legislation helps independent pubs and local beer and cider makers – not just the big global brewers and pub companies.”