Northern Irish Craft Brewers Seek Licensing Reform
Craft brewers in Northern Ireland are campaigning for a change in the region’s licensing laws to help continue the industry’s growth.
The brewers are petitioning the devolved Northern Ireland Executive to allow them to be able to sell their products online, from their own premises and at the many farmers’ and food markets across Northern Ireland.
A group of craft brewers have already met Northern Ireland Assembly members to press their case for help that will enable them to sell freely alongside other artisan food producers, without a special licence. They argue that the existing legislation is outdated and is inhibiting the development of what they deem is a ‘dynamic sector of artisan food production in Northern Ireland’.
The campaign to modernise the licensing laws is being supported by Food NI, the region’s food promotion body, as well as Hospitality Ulster. Michele Shirlow, Food NI chief executive, said, “Events such as the BBC Good Food Show, which was held in Belfast in October for the first time, highlighted the adverse impact of licensing laws on smaller producers such as craft breweries and distilleries, many of which had expressed an interest in participating but found they were unable to sell products to the public.”
Northern Ireland currently has almost 40 craft breweries producing a wide range of ales, beers and stouts for the local market, with several selling in the Republic of Ireland, Great Britain and further afield.
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