Coronavirus (COVID-19): Latest advice & guidance for brewers

As this is a rapidly evolving situation all questions and feedback should be sent to and we will do our best to respond. Please consult our COVID-19 FAQs document before emailing. This page is correct as of 12.45pm, 26 May 2020.

What SIBA are calling for

  • A targeted package of support for breweries and the brewery supply chain to match the level received by pubs. Breweries should be able to access grants and exemptions from business rates. All local community breweries, including those with shops and taprooms should be able to access the support pubs do given 80% of small brewers trade is with pubs.
  • A relaxation in licensing laws to allow more breweries to sell beer direct to the consumer, giving them vital cashflow.
  • Defer beer duty payments and fix the ‘time to pay’ system which erroneously took money from small independent brewers even though many had agreed a deferral with HMRC.

SIBA Actions & Updates

22 May: Friday’s email – link
20 May: Our Wednesday email – link
18 May: Our Monday email – link
15 May: SIBA’s daily email – link
14 May: Had insurance cover refused? complete our survey
14 May: SIBA’s daily email – link
13 May: the daily email – link
12 May: SIBA’s email – link
11 May: Our latest email – link
10 May: SIBA responds to the Prime Minister’s statement on the roadmap out of lockdown
7 May: SIBA’s lastest update – link
5 May:The top 10 things brewers should do – link
4 May: SIBA’s latest email – link
4 May: Government announced new top up to business grants at the weekend – more
1 May: SIBA’s latest email – link

Please note: This page has been edited to only show the most recent updates. To view all updates regarding COVID-19 please visit the SIBA COVID-19 archive page.

Sign up for updates

Not a member of SIBA but want to receive email updates from us regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and the options, advice and support open to brewers? Sign up to our regular Covid-19 Industry Alerts by clicking here

Recovery strategy

The UK Government’s COVID-19 Recovery Strategy – link
Scottish Government Framework for Decision Making – link
Welsh Government Framework for Recovery – link
Northern Ireland Executive Recovery Plan – link

Working Safely

New guidance has been published to help employers, employees and the self-employed to work safely during the Covid-19 pandemic. These eight guides cover a range of different types of work and many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory or fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe. For more information visit:

There is also a guide for travelling safely and you may want to consider sharing some of this advice with your employees who are still working:

Tools for Breweries

Please see our Tools for Breweries page to access template letter for brewery staff and a risk assessment template.

Financial Support

The Government has announced a series of measures to assist small businesses. For the latest please see our Finanacial Support page.

Flexibility on Destruction of Beer in Pub Cellars

For the latest guidance on the destruction of beer during the Covid-19 crisis, see our seperate page.

Closure of pubs, bars and restaurants

On Friday (20 March) the Government asked restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs to close and not to open for trade from Saturday 21 March. It is now enforceable by law and businesses that breach them will be subject to prohibition notices and potentially unlimited fines. These measures will be reviewed every 28 days.


On Wednesday (25 March) the Government clarified its guidance on the closure of retailers that sell non-essentials, and after pressure from SIBA and other industry bodies has confirmed that ‘off-licenses and licensed shops selling alcohol, including those within breweries”are exceptions to the closures.

This means that if you have a shop selling beer for takeaway you can continue to remain open if you choose to do so. It is a matter for breweries to decide for themselves whether they wish to do so and if you do you should ensure you follow the Government’s safety guidelines. The Association of Convenience Stores has also published resources for retailers.

Northern Ireland – off-licences are to close: link.

Online shops and deliveries

Online shops and deliveries can remain open and breweries should ensure they follow the Government’s safety guidelines. Breweries should check whether their premises licence has permission for off sales and whether there are any conditions that restrict this before delivering directly to the public.

The Local Government Association (LGA) has issued licensing guidance. It states that: “For businesses that do not already have off sales on their licences, there is some debate as to whether this can be added through a minor variation or not. One view is that the legislation and section 182 guidance may require this to be treated as a full variation; however, many authorities have considered it appropriate in the circumstances to permit the addition to the licence via a time-limited minor variation.”

The Home Office has written to local authorities urging them to take a flexible approach to collecting licensing fees – letter.

Crime Prevention Advice

If you’re brewery is closing during the COVID-19 outbreak, there is some good advice on safety and crime prevention for empty commerical property:

Safer Business Network: Advice to closed businesses Click here to read

Met Police: Crime Prevention advice for empty commercial premises
Click here to read

Plus further useful safety resources can be found here:

Exporting Guidance

The Government has published advice for businesses trading internationally which can be found here. The Department for International Trade can provide assistance with customs authorities and supply chain issues.

Mental health

Advice and information on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing during the Covid-19 outbreak. NHS advice –


HM Treasury and HMRC have set out new timelines for tax policy consultations and other work in the light of the current Covid-19 crisis. Click here to read the update on tax policy documents

NHS Advice on Coronavirus

Please click here to read the latest NHS advice on limiting the spread of Coronavirus, what symptoms those who have contracted the virus may exhibit and what to do if you beleive you may be at risk of having caught the virus, or are showing similar symptoms.