Covid-19 is having a huge impact on small breweries in Hallam and across the country. Right now sales have fallen by 80% and two small breweries are going out of business every week.
But at this critical time, when small breweries so desperately need more support, the government is proposing the opposite – cuts to a subsidy known as Small Brewers Relief (SBR). Over the past month I have been working with local brewers and campaigners to reverse these proposed cuts.
Hallam is home to a number of breweries – in Bradfield, Crosspool and Loxley. Bradfield Brewery, a family-run business, was established in 2005 and is one of the largest breweries in Sheffield.
Loxley Brewery, established in 2018, told me:
“Small Brewers’ Relief has been a lifeline to independent breweries, such as Loxley Brewery.
Without the scheme, breweries such as ours would not have been able to grow by reinvesting the duty relief back into the business, purchasing new equipment to increase our capacity, create jobs and boost the local economy.
With the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the hospitality industry, the proposed change to SBR could not have come at a worse time for the industry, especially after pubs – a lifeline especially for predominantly cask and keg producing breweries – have been closed for months on end and brewers are struggling to make ends meet.
As a predominantly cask producing brewery with ambitions to grow, penalising brewers by reducing the annual threshold to 2100HL will only result in many closing their shutter doors for one last time as they face mounting bills on top of decreasing sales; all this on top of successive lockdowns on the hospitality industry is nothing short of a slap in the face for a nation that has culturally, economically and historically been the centre of brewing for many centuries.
We, at Loxley Brewery, do not support the changes to SBR, which will only really benefit larger breweries who have higher lobbying power than those trying to craft a future for beer in a local setting and create a meaningful experience for our residents and expand our footprint further afield.
We implore the treasury to rethink the matter during their technical consultation.”
I am continuing to work with breweries in my constituency, as well as national campaign groups, to hold the government to account over this, and I have tabled a Parliamentary Motion, to call on the government to rethink this damaging plan.