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  8.45am, 13 July 2020.

What SIBA are calling for

We are calling on the Government to Be Here for Independent Beer. Our independent breweries need your support to survive so we can retain local independent beer and keep our communities together. #Here4IndieBeer

  1. To provide an urgent injection of support and allow them to brew again, the Government should halve beer duty bills for all British owned independent brewers based on the rate paid last year for the rest of this financial year. The direct support already provided to pubs and the hospitality sector should also be extended so small breweries receive business rate relief and grants. This direct injection of cashflow will protect and secure the thousands of jobs in brewing and the supply chain.
  2. So that independent brewers can bring staff back to work and support the thousands of local jobs in the sector, the Government should provide fully flexible furlough, and we await the detail further to the announcement on 29th May. Breweries also need prompt payments to keep them afloat with a secured 30-day payment term from customers.
  3. Beer production has been at a record low during this crisis so HMRC should take account of this in its duty calculations and give brewers extra time to pay (60 days rather than 30 days) and secure the sustainability of our small breweries through positive reform of Small Breweries’ Relief.

SIBA Actions & Updates

10 July: Friday’s email – link
9 July: Write to your MP on the exclusion of wet pubs from the VAT cut – link
8 July: SIBA’s statement on the Chancellor’s Summer Economic Update – link
6 July: Monday’s email – link
3 July: Friday’s email – link
29 June: Monday’s email – link
26 June: Friday’s email – link
24 June: Our latest email – link
24 June: Government guidance for reopening of pubs – link
24 June – SIBA risk asssessment
23 June: SIBA’s statement on reopening of pubs – link
22 June: Monday’s email – link
19 June: Friday’s email – link
17 June: Wednesday’s email – link
15 June: Monday’s email – link
15 June: SIBA is supporting Free the Pint
12 June: Friday’s email – link
10 June: Wednesday’s email – link
9 June: Letter from MPs to Chancellor – link
8 June: Monday’s email – link
5 June: Friday’s email – link
3 June: Wednesday’s email – link
1 June: Monday’s email – link
29 May: Friday’s email – link
27 May: Wednesday email – link
22 May: Friday’s email – link
20 May: Our Wednesday email – link
18 May: Our Monday 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

Reopening of pubs and hospitality sector


  • 4 July: Pubs reopen

The Prime Minister announced on Tuesday 23 June that pubs will be allowed to reopen on 4 July.

Covid-19 secure guidance for pubs – link
Covid-19 secure guidane for the visitor economy – link
Test and Trace guidance – link
ICO data guidance – link
CAMRA visitor guidance – link

Risk assessments
SIBA risk asssessment
HSE risk assessment – link


  • 6 July: Beer gardens reopen
  • 15 July: indoor pubs reopening

The Scottish Government has now confirmed it is moving to Phase 3 of its lockdown route map and from Wednesday 15 July, indoor pubs will be able to re-open. Hospitality venues can be granted an exception to the 2 metre distancing requirement, however this requires mitigating measures in place such as clear information for customers, revised seating plans, and all hospitality venues are required to record contact details of customers to support Test and Protect.

Guidance – link
Checklist – link
Changes to outdoor areas – link


  • 13 July: Beer gardens reopen
  • 3 August: indoor pubs to reopen

The Welsh First Minister announced on Friday 18 June further steps to unlock Wales. This allows non-essential shops to reopen from Monday 22 June and the preparation of the tourism industry for reopening from 6 July.

On 2 July, the Welsh Government has announced that outdoor spaces can prepare to reopen from 13 July.

In Wales, pubs will be able to reopen indoors from 3 August as long as Covid cases continue to fall. They can open outside from Monday (13 July) and the next formal review of the regulations is due by 30 July.

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

A ‘bounce back’ plan of trade measures for the agriculture, food and drink industry has been announced today to help support businesses that have been impacted by coronavirus – 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:

Relaxation of licensing laws and outdoor seating

New legislation is going through Parliament which will relax licensing (England and Wales) and outdoor seating arrangements (England only). It will:

Licensing laws

  • Automatically extend on-sales licences to allow them to serve alcohol off the premises until 30 September 2021
  • Allow sales of alcohol in open containers for consumption outside the premises
  • No need to apply or pay any fee
  • After September 2021, premises will need to submit a minor variation to retain the permission
  • Those that operate irresponsibly could be subject to a new, accelerated off-sales review process.

Outdoor seating

  • Temporary, streamlined and fixed price process to obtain a licence to place tables and chairs and other furniture outside
  • 7 day consultation and walkway consent is not required
  • Fees set locally and capped at £100. Deemed consent from the local authority after 14 days
  • Local authorities can set the duration but must not be less than 3 months and licence cannot extend beyond 30 September 2021

While these measures are very welcome and will assist small breweries, SIBA are lobbying the Government to include provisions for those who don’t have a premises licence – either by extending it to include AWRS, make it easier to apply for a premise licence or changing the length and number of TENs you can apply for.

Manufacturing sector guidance in Scotland

New guidance has been published for manufacturing sites in Scotland, including procedures to plan for, and maintain, a safe place for all.

The guidance is for manufacturing sites in Scotland and came into effect from yesterday (26 May 2020), extending until further notice. More information here.

Tourism and Hospitality sector guidance in Scotland

Guidance for the tourism and hospitality sector has been published, including procedures for staff and customer safety and an operations checklist.

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.