‘Vindictive and illogical’: Pub owners furious at takeaway beer snub
PUBLISHED: 15:01 03 November 2020 | UPDATED: 15:01 03 November 2020
Pub landlords face throwing away beer after the government banned them from selling takeaway booze during lockdown.
With just hours to go until time is called once again, publicans are hoping they will be able to get rid of their opened cask and keg ales otherwise they will have to be dumped.
And although most have unopened beer in their cellars which remains in date until the end of the year fears are growing that spiking infection rates could mean Norfolk won’t come out of lockdown in time.
But despite Wednesday being the last time they can open for at least a month, pub owners said they were not planning any big parties.
During the initial lockdown pubs were allowed to sell draught beer in four pint containers and many including the Beehive and the Fat Cat Brewery Tap, both in Norwich, did.
But this time the government has stipulated pubs must not do off site sales and must get rid of any surplus in the correct manner – and not down the drain as this would break regulations.
Ian Stamp, chairman of the Norwich & District branch of the Campaign for Real Ale, said: “Stopping pubs from selling local draught beer when supermarkets are allowed to sell beer appears vindictive and illogical. How on earth does it contribute to reducing infections? It not only punishes pubs which are in dire straits already but also real ale drinkers who want to support their local pubs and breweries.”
Dawn Hopkins, landlady at the Rose Inn, Queens Road, Norwich, has got 300 pints of real ale to sell by Wednesday evening and around 500 pints in the cellar with a sell-by date of late December.
“These have either been paid for or need to be paid for this month. That’s with me being cautious and not doing a beer order last week but a lot of publicans will be in a much worse position.
“Anything left will be wasted because we can’t sell takeaway alcohol during lockdown. There’s nothing else we can do but to get rid of it.”
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Phil Cutter, who runs the Murderers, in Timber Hill, Norwich, got rid of 60 gallons of beer back in March. This time, rather than offering 10 ales, he’s only got three on draught.
“It’s disappointing and inconsistent,” he said. “People can go to the supermarket and buy beer from big multi-national companies. Independent businesses need to be supported. My concern is that if we get to Christmas, will the government keep pubs shut until the New Year? I make 20pc of my annual profit in December which subsidises the months when we’re not as busy.”
Katy Treanor, manager of the Robin Hood pub in Sheringham, said: “We are about half booked for Wednesday night and I’m really hoping I can use up all the beer by the end of the evening.”
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