Takeaway beer U-turn welcomed but Suffolk landlords in the dark over support
- Credit: Su Anderson
An Ipswich landlord who sold 500 takeaway pints a weekend during the first lockdown does not know if he will offer the service again, despite a government U-turn.
During the first lockdown Dan Lightfoot, who runs The Greyhound in Henley Road, sold takeaway beer in containers ranging from jam jars to jerry cans.
Official guidelines published over the weekend initially indicated a ban on serving alcohol takeaways for restaurants and pubs that will be made to close from Thursday.
But last night the government reversed its decision. The new rules state that customers must pre-order their drink online, or by phone or post, which can be collected as long as they do not enter a premises.
Mr Lightfoot says he is still not sure if he will sell takeaway beers during the second lockdown because he does not know whether it will make him ineligible for government support.
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He said: “It’s great because it means we don’t have to pour any beer down the drain tomorrow.
“It’s great for all the pubs because it means we can sell what we’ve got. But it is a bit more of a hassle with the pre-orders and everything.”
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“But there’s rumours going round that you don’t get the grant if you try and carry on doing takeaways – so it’s a bit like: ‘What’s the point of doing it then?’
“It’s hopefully only going to be four weeks and then we go again. Not knowing is the hardest thing.
“We’re still waiting for our final guidance.”
Neil Walker, head of communications at the Society of Independent Brewers, welcomed the government decision. He said: “It comes as very welcome news that Government have now clarified their stance on takeaway beer and published guidance which shows England’s pubs and independent brewery taprooms can sell beer for takeaway providing it is pre-ordered via phone, web or post. Government have also made clear in the guidance that brewery shops can remain open and operate as off-licenses, meaning bottled and canned beer from small breweries can be sold via on-site shops without pre-order.
“Small independent breweries and community pubs have proven their ability to trade responsibly during Covid and this new guidance will allow them to prepare their businesses for safe continued trading ahead of Thursday’s lockdown.”
Mr Lightfoot expects to announce his final decision over whether or not provide takeaway beer on his social media.