Driffield's Pumphouse Brewing on the toll the pandemic is taking as CAMRA demands action

A Yorkshire brewer has told how he stands to lose his entire investment in a new business as his firm makes "chicken feed" during the early stages of the third coronavirus lockdown.

David Braysmith, co-founder of Pumphouse Brewing at Twydale Business Park in Driffield.

His concerns come after CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, this week again called on the Government to let pubs to sell takeaway beer and cider in sealed containers.

David Braysmith, co-founder of Pumphouse Brewing at Twydale Business Park in Driffield with business partner Zsolt Hangrad, said they have now resorted to furlough payments and despite previously receiving a £20,000 bounce-back loan from the Government, repayments are due to start before the brewery can even reopen.

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Pumphouse is now doing weekly delivery services and although Mr Braysmith stresses that he is very thankful for loyal customer and Government support, compared to previous takings the business is now getting "chicken feed".

He said: "We're at such a young stage of our business journey.

"We were seven months into it when [the first] lockdown happened, so its been a real test of personal resilience.

"What we do stand to lose is all the money we've invested into it, and that's considerable."

In addition to that £100,000 investment, the business was provided with a Government bounce-back loan of £20,000 to help during the pandemic, which has not been spent because it is being kept "in the back pocket" for desperate times.

But Mr Braysmith fears the repayments will begin before he can reopen the business, which he estimates will be in June, as the repayment-free period was only for 12 months.

For his own brewery, though, he is not sure that ability to run a takeaway alcohol service would make a big of difference.

He said: "It's got a very, very different feel to the spring when this was all new and the weather took a turn for the good."

The lockdown rules mean that shops can continue to sell alcohol to take away but pubs can only do so through home delivery - not collection services as in previous lockdowns.

CAMRA’s national chairman Nik Antona said: “It is absolutely unfair that whilst big supermarkets can continue to sell alcohol, our struggling local pubs in England can’t act as an off licence too.

“This was a real lifeline for many pubs during previous lockdowns and is desperately needed again now, with landlords up and down the country struggling to make ends meet after months of closures, curfews and restrictions."

The Government has previously created a Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) to support businesses in those sectors with their costs during coronavirus, but applications are now finished.

Following the latest lockdown, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a one-off grant of up to £9,000 to help businesses survive.

The one-off grant will be provided to firms on a per-property basis, with £4,000 going to those with a rateable value below £15,000, £6,000 to those with a value between £15-51,000 and £9,000 above this level, said the Treasury.

Mr Sunak said: “Throughout the pandemic we’ve taken swift action to protect lives and livelihoods and today we’re announcing a further cash injection to support businesses and jobs until the Spring."