Celeb publicans Jodie Kidd and Tom Kerridge blast ‘absurd’ ban on takeaway beer

A campaign has been launched to save local pubs with celebrities branding a ban on them selling takeaway beer as "totally absurd".

Door-to-door sales have gone through the roof as whole streets are chipping in to buy barrels of beer on palettes before lockdown hits.

Celeb publicans Jodie Kidd and Tom Kerridge are now leading growing calls for MPs to reverse the ban on pubs selling takeaway booze in a vote tomorrow.

It comes as experts warn a whopping 7.5m pints of beer will be poured down the drain this week unless the government U-turns and allows pubs to sell takeaway drinks from Thursday.

Celeb chef Tom, 47, told the Daily Star: "As a landlord myself I am fuming that during this second lockdown the Government has said pubs, bars and restaurants are not allowed to serve alcohol to take away. This was allowed during the first lockdown and was welcome support to so many pubs severely affected.

"MPs need to seriously reconsider this and U-turn on the ruling especially as the hospitality sector made such a sterling effort to ensure Covid-19 compliance.

"It’s totally absurd especially given that supermarkets are allowed to sell alcohol. I fear more businesses will fail because of this unnecessary measure and that a U-turn on this could throw a lifeline to businesses already on the edge."

Fashion model and racing driver Jodie, 42, added: "Pubs need all the help they can get, and after building up stocks again preparing for what is normally our busiest time of the year heading towards Xmas, to now to have to throw it all away, is beyond thoughtless.

"There is no need for this new rule – if we don’t support pubs now there won’t be any to celebrate in when we finally come out of this coronavirus pandemic."

The Cabinet Office insists "public health and safety remain our number one priority" but Government faces a backbench revolt in the vote tomorrow.

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Tory MP for Broxbourne Sir Charles Walker warned: "Pubs should be given every opportunity to bring revenue through their door be that through the sale of takeaway food or beer."

And former minister Esther McVey said: "It is idiotic that pubs can serve takeaway meals in the lockdown but not a takeaway alcoholic drink to go with it. Pubs will be left having to pour beer away that they can ill afford. Given that supermarkets can still sell takeaway alcohol, why can’t our pubs? This is the kind of nonsensical arbitrary rule which brings all of the lockdown rules into disrepute. The government needs to change this and support our pubs and breweries to help them survive."

Meanwhile, West Yorks brewer Richard Shelton revealed his door-to-door beer sales soared by 30% after Boris Johnson announced the lockdown on Saturday.

He said brewers across the country are buying back beer from pubs as entire neighbourhoods chip in to buy barrels of beer in bulk.

The Ilkley Brewery boss said: "It's a community spirit where people would support the brewery.

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"Certainly we've seen an upturn in the direct delivered beer of around 30% last week.

"Pubs won't be able to sell out of beer before Wednesday night, so it just seems like a waste. There's growing pressure on the brewery to buy that which hasn't been opened."

A third of pub revenue is generated during the Halloween to New Year rush – a "massively important time for cashflow before heading into the dead seasons of January and February," according to Charlotte Green from waste company TradeWaste.co.uk.

She urged Brits to do their duty and get smashed in the next couple of days to help out, saying: "Everything you buy this week helps them, and helps save it going down the drain or to landfill."

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Yesterday pubs and campaigners urged the Government to reverse its "ridiculous" ban on selling takeaway beer during the second lockdown.

Bosses warned any beer left in pub cellars will have to be "tipped down the drain" when the restrictions come in force on Thursday.

Josh Jepson, 29, landlord of the Kelham Island Tavern, in Sheffield, said the latest ban was a "kick in the teeth".

The co-director of the Blue Bee Brewery said: "Cask beer only has a finite life span and selling it will stop it from going to waste and keep pubs and breweries going, allowing them to have some form of income.

"To stop them from selling it seems like a bit of a kick in the teeth to be honest. And it seems a bit unfair when pubs have gone to all this effort to make sure they are Covid secure."

A Government spokesman said: "We recognise these are extremely challenging circumstances facing pubs and the hospitality industry. Public health and safety remain our number one priority and that is why pubs and other hospitality venues cannot serve alcohol to takeaway to discourage people from gathering outside their premises. But they can sell alcohol as part of delivery services."

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