Brewers need further support and certainty on when and how pubs can open, because opening alone won’t secure their future.

In a new survey of small independent brewers in the UK, 84 per cent expect the Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent social distancing measures to have a lasting negative impact on their business, finds SIBA.

In addition 80 per cent believe the Government are not doing enough to support small breweries.

The survey found 90 per cent of the UK’s independent brewers think the large multinational brewers stand to increase their market share as a result Covid-19, directly to the detriment of small independents.

Competition on price, on soft loans tying down publicans to bland mass market beer and worries about buying choices of pubs are huge concerns in breweries around the UK.

Most brewers (97 per cent) will be ready to supply pubs by the proposed July 4 opening, but only if the Prime Minister offers a roadmap and guidance on social distancing imminently – brewers need at least three weeks’ notice to open and the clock is ticking.

The message to Government on social distancing from brewers was clear: Half of brewers think most pubs aren’t economically viable with social distancing at all but a further 47 per cent said they’re only viable at 1m of social distance.

SIBA chief executive said: “Getting pubs reopened quickly and safely is simply the first step on the road to recovery for small brewers – for others irreparable damage has already been done.

“Breweries have not received the same levels of financial support from Government as the rest of the sector, the global brewers are looking to eat our lunch and we face a hugely different, unpredictable and chaotic marketplace when things do re-open.”

SIBA and a cross party group of MPs Have written to the Chancellor calling on him to do more to give the sector a fighting chance.

“We and a cross party group of MPs who love independent beer need Government to commit to a clear timetable and guidance of pubs re-opening, slash beer duty and extend business rates grants and support to breweries otherwise the investment Government has made through furlough will go to waste,” said Calder.

“Opening pubs on the 4July is a national priority, but without quality beer from local, independent breweries on the bar, what is the point?” he said.

● Flexible furlough’ has been received well by SIBA members, with some 53 per cent saying it will help ensure the survival of their businesses, 71 per cent say it will relieve some pressure on their finances and 65 per cent say they will use it to phase brewers back into the brewhouse.

● But, critically 35 per cent of brewers say flexible furlough won’t make any difference to making redundancies, and of brewers planning redundancies we could see as much as 15 per cent of their staff made redundant, hinting at hundreds of job losses across our sector despite the Chancellor’s action.

● 47 per cent of brewers think most pubs are only viable at 1m of social distance, placing further pressure on the Government to act quickly to change the guidance to match WHO advice.

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