NI’s pub-goers call for further changes to alcohol laws ahead of the first Easter with relaxed opening hours
CAMRA NI, the group representing beer drinkers and pub-goers in Northern Ireland, has welcomed the extended pub opening hours coming into force for the very first time this Easter weekend.
New legislation passed by the Assembly last summer means that pubs across Northern Ireland can open as normal over the Easter weekend.
Earlier this week the new “producers’ licence” also came into force, allowing local breweries and cider producers to open a brewery shop selling their products from their own premises as well as from online shops.
Plans to allow local drinks producers to run taprooms at their production premises are set to come into force later this summer.
CAMRA NI Chair Ruth Sloan commented:
“With normal pub opening hours in force this Easter for the very first time and our local breweries and cider producers finally allowed to sell their products online and from their production premises, our alcohol laws are taking an important first step towards the 21st Century.
“As consumers benefit from these changes in the law this weekend, CAMRA NI will be calling on parties and Assembly candidates to commit to going further to modernise our outdated licensing laws.
“We want to see the next Executive commit to implementing the recommendations of the independent review into NI’s alcohol licensing system which gets underway later this year. The restrictive ‘surrender principle’ in the current licensing system means no new licences have been created since 1902. This massively restricts consumer choice and sees large global brewers dominate at the bar at the expense of small, independent and local breweries which are thriving elsewhere on these islands.
“The next Assembly must do more to support independent pubs and our local beer and cider makers so that locals and tourists alike can benefit from greater choice, and so Northern Ireland’s beer scene can catch up with the rest of Europe’s.”