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Press Release

01/07/2020

Struggling pubs need freedom to stock local products to survive post lockdown – CAMRA Scotland

CAMRA’s Cheers for Choice campaign calls on pub companies to allow landlords to sell local beers from small and independent breweries.

Every pub across Scotland should be allowed to stock and sell beer and cider from small, local and independent brewers and cider producers, to help them recover post lockdown

That’s the message from CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, as they launch their new ‘Cheers for Choice’ campaign this week.

As pubs prepare for reopening next month, CAMRA’s members across Scotland are signing petitions to pub company bosses urging them to allow all landlords to stock local brews.

Current beer ties mean that most pub tenants are restricted in what they can sell in their pubs and are often banned from putting on the products they know their customers want to drink.

The campaign wants pub companies’ beer tie arrangements to be relaxed as pubs reopen following the coronavirus lockdown, so that all parts of the industry can pull together and support each other.

A recent survey of 21,000 beer drinkers and pub goers across the UK carried out by CAMRA found that 68% of people are less likely to go to a pub if it isn’t selling local and independent beer and cider.

MSPs are also being urged to support the Tied Pubs Bill being put forward in the Scottish Parliament by Labour MSP Neil Bibby. The legislation would give tied pub tenants protections in law, including a right to be able to sell guest beers in their pubs.

Commenting, CAMRA Director for Scotland Sarah Crawford said: 

“Relaxing restrictions for tied pub tenants is the right thing to do – making sure all parts of the industry, no matter how small, are supported in the recovery from COVID-19 and are able to thrive in the weeks and months ahead.

“Allowing small and independent brewers and cider producers are able to sell into all pubs will also improve consumer choice and allow pub goers to support local brewing businesses.

“It also makes business sense, with 68% of pub-goers saying they would be less likely to go back to a pub if it doesn’t have a range of brews from small and independent producers.

“That’s why we are encouraging pub companies to relax restrictions on what beers can be sold when pubs reopen, as well as urging all MSPs to vote in favour of the Tied Pubs Bill later in the year so all landlords can have a legal right to serve guest beers from local and independent breweries.”

Labour MSP for the West of Scotland Neil Bibby MSP said:

“I agree with CAMRA that restrictions on tied pubs should be relaxed to help brewers into the sector and allow more consumer choice for pub-goers. 

“This is a critical time for pubs and brewers in Scotland. They need all the help they can get. One way the Scottish Parliament can help is through tied pub reform. It’s time to stop the big PubCos extracting profits from Scotland and support Scottish publicans who want to invest in their businesses and provide more choice to customers.”

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