Brewers sign up for beer tie ‘split’

• Fyne Ales’ Jamie Delap.
• Fyne Ales’ Jamie Delap.

Craft producers call for legislation to be implemented in Scotland

A NUMBER of Scottish craft brewers have joined Tennent Caledonian in calling for an end to the beer tie in Scotland.
Steve Stewart of Stewart Brewing, Jamie Delap of Fyne Ales, Fergus Clark of Inveralmond Brewery and Scott Williams of Williams Bros. are among those who have backed calls for Westminster legislation which would effectively remove the beer tie to be introduced in Scotland as well. The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill, which was due to reach the committee stage in the House of Lords yesterday (January 7), states that pubcos with 500 or more outlets must offer lessees a market rent only option.
The measure has been criticised by pubcos, which say it will damage pubs.
But the move has been backed by Tennent Caledonian and around eight Scottish brewers, who have added their signatures to a letter to the Scottish Government, calling on it to implement the legislation north of the border.
The letter argued that removing the beer tie would “not only free up the market for smaller businesses like ourselves to sell our products more openly, it will also give pub operators the opportunity to compete more directly and more fairly with larger pub chains”.
Steve Stewart of Stewart Brewing said: “I believe that from a publican’s, brewer’s and customer’s point of view, this is beneficial; it would mean more choice and variety.”
Fyne Ales’ Jamie Delap said: “We want to see a strong vibrant pub sector and, from what we see, landlords who are free to choose the products that their customers want to have on the bar are the ones that are thriving.”
Scott Williams of Williams Bros. said ‘breaking’ the beer tie “makes sense for everyone – the consumer, the publican and the brewer”.
“Not only will it create a fairer market but will offer more choice right across the board,” said Williams.
Inveralmond MD Fergus Clark said: “Inveralmond Brewery supports anything that is going to help already hard pressed pubs compete on a more even playing field by allowing access to sensibly priced beers.”