Ministers faced a backlash this week after it was announced that take-out sales of alcohol in pubs and other venues would be banned from Thursday to December 2.
But the full new lockdown regulation now released by Public Health England says the sale of alcohol for off-premises consumption will be allowed – provided it has been pre-ordered online, by phone or by mail.
Customers will be able to come to their premises and collect a pint or other drink, as long as they do not “enter the premises to do so”.
Jonathan Neame, managing director of Britain’s oldest brewer Shepherd Neame – which is responsible for more than 300 pubs in London and the South East – told Standard: “It’s very welcome and I’m delighted that they canceled it.
“I’m glad they saw any sense in this, and for some entrepreneurs it will make a difference. It will give them some income during a very stressful time. “
CAMRA National President Nik Antona said in a statement: “I am delighted that the government has listened to the concerns of thousands of CAMRA members, pub fans and beer lovers who have emailed to their MPs over the past 48 hours, urging the government to allow pubs and breweries to sell take-out alcohol during the second lockdown.
“It’s a vital lifeline for local pubs and breweries across England over the next four weeks, giving them a lifeline and enabling people to support local businesses.”
Independent brewers had also called for clarity this week on whether they would be able to sell directly to customers. The new published rules have clarified that breweries can operate without a license, meaning they will be able to sell beer in bottles and cans to take away without needing to pre-order.
Over 90 percent of Dalston’s 40FT Brewery’s sales typically come from sourcing London’s pubs, bars and restaurants. 40FT co-founder Steve Ryan said the decision came as “a huge relief”.
He told Standard: “This is a huge relief for us at the 40FT Brewery.
“After several days of uncertainty and with just one day before the lockdown, we can now confidently plan how we will package and sell our beer this month.
“We’re going to turn our 40-foot taproom into a 40-inch off license to sell our beer in cans, eight quart mini kegs to go. [We will have ] a Click & Collect service and home delivery throughout the country. ”
Bethany Burrow Atherton, co-founder of Edmonton’s Beerblefish Brewing Company, also said the news came as a huge relief.
She said: “The clarification that brewery bottle shops can open normally and pubs can offer take out take out is a huge relief. We were concerned that many of our wholesale customers would close their doors for the last time tonight, but it has given the industry a much-needed lifeline.
But some industry representatives have said the partial turnaround does not go far enough.
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, argued that pubs must be given the option to sell on-demand pints for take-out, as in the first lockdown.
The organization had warned earlier this week that up to 7.5 million pints could be wasted if the government did not allow pubs to sell drinkable alcohol offsite.
She said: “Liquor to take out from pubs if it’s pre-ordered and customers don’t enter the premises is a movement, but still not close enough.
“Supermarkets and unlicensed ones can still sell alcohol, so it’s totally unfair for unlicensed pubs.
“The fact remains that in order to help pubs and brewers survive … the government must give pubs the same ability to sell unlicensed alcohol as they did during the first lockdown.”
James Calder, CEO of the Society of Independent Brewers, said: “It’s not quite what we wanted, but it’s a win for our industry and for common sense. “
A government spokesperson said in a statement: “We recognize that these are extremely difficult circumstances for pubs and the hospitality industry.
“Public health and safety remains our number one priority and that is why pubs and other venues cannot serve take out alcohol to prevent people from congregating outside their premises.
“However, they may sell alcohol as part of delivery services, including click and collect, telephone and other remote control methods for collection, provided that customers do not do not gather as a group once they have collected their order. “
The House of Commons will vote on the measures on Wednesday.