TENNENT Caledonian Breweries (TCB) has backed proposed legislation which could ‘break’ the beer tie.
The Tennent’s lager owner welcomed the ‘new clause two’ amendment to the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill, which MPs in the House of Commons voted in favour of last week, by 284 votes to 269.
The clause states that pubcos with 500 or more outlets and at least one tenanted or leased pub will have to offer tenants a market rent only option, meaning the pub tenant would be able to buy beer from any supplier.
Measures outlined in the Bill will currently only apply to pubs in England and Wales (premises licensed under the 2003 Licensing Act); however campaigners for pubco reform in Scotland have called on the Scottish Government to match Westminster’s proposals.
TCB’s John Gilligan said: “We recognise that the tied pub model may have worked in the past but times have changed and it isappropriate that the model evolves.
“As a regional brewer, we welcome the improved market access that this legislation should facilitate.
“We believe that it is right, not only for businesses such as ourselves, other Scottish brewers and also for tenants keen to offer the best pub environment and, more importantly, for the general public who demand and deserve choice.
“In Scotland, there’s still work to be done. The amendment won’t constitute law – but we believe it’s in the interest of Scotland’s pubs for Holyrood to also implement the legislation at the same pace as the rest of the UK.”