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SIBA warns further support for small brewers still needed

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has warned that pubs reopening is just the first step on the road to recovery for the beer industry, with further support for small brewers still needed to “keep beer flowing”.

Earlier this week, the PM said the existing guidance on two metres’ social distancing “prevents all but a fraction of [the UK’s] hospitality industry from operating”, and that while it is still “recommended where possible”, the official guidance will be updated to recommend “one-metre-plus” where necessary, if “mitigations” such as face masks are used.

Responding to the announcement James Calder, SIBA chief executive said: “The prime minister’s announcement is what the nation has been waiting for. But hundreds of brewers and thousands of pubs are still on the precipice. Many will struggle with table service only when ordering from a bar can be done safely.”

“Beer sales will not return to normal levels anytime soon, so the UK’s brewers need a continued support package and a clear roadmap for how they will be financially supported. the government has failed to meet its own timetable, and failed to support brewers in the same way the rest of hospitality has been.”

Calder added although the news is positive, there is “a lot more work to do yet”.

The news comes as the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said the announcement was an “important step” for the sector and was relieved to see the government adopt areas of the WHO’s guidance.

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