Support your local pub and buy from new city centre market stall

The Save St Albans Pubs market stall sells draft beer, ciders and ales in sealed containers under Covid-friendly...

The Save St Albans Pubs market stall sells draft beer, ciders and ales in sealed containers under Covid-friendly circumstances. - Credit: SSAP

An initiative which saved thousands of pints of beer being wasted following the onset of the latest lockdown is set to reach a wider audience.

The Save St Albans Pubs market stall was originally hosted by Cellar Door Wines on Verulam Industrial Estate, but is now positioned in the centre of the city on Market Place every Friday.

The stall has already prevented local pubs from suffering losses of several thousand pounds, selling click and collect draft beer, ciders and ales in sealed containers under Covid-friendly circumstances.

Landlords from the Lower Red Lion, the Mermaid and the Jolly Sailor have helped out ,and pre-packaged draft beer, donated by Farr Brew and the Goat, was sold to help raise funds to support pubs on the brink.

Save St Albans Pubs co-founder Sean Hughes, owner of Dylans and landlord of The Boot, said: "We would like to thank St Albans BID and St Albans council for supporting our campaign over the past 12 months. 

"Thank you for your support in buying from us, please continue to do so."

Save St Albans Pubs is continuing to campaign for business rate reform for local pubs, which have seen their incomes devastated by repeated lockdowns and the rigours of coronavirus restrictions.

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Sean said: "Being without pubs for most of the past year I’m sure that we can all agree that we have missed our community spaces and we will continue to protect our local pubs.  

"For almost five years the government has promised reforms to business rates and failed to deliver on these promises. This has cost hundreds of businesses to go under and pushed the price of a pint up, especially for independent pubs who cannot spread the cost over several sites, like larger pubs such as Wetherspoons.

"We are hopeful that the reform due in the autumn statement will support pubs, small businesses and the high street over large corporations such as Amazon who continue to fail with paying their fair share of tax.

"We are disappointed that business rates are returning later this year - albeit subsided. We would have liked to see business rates cancelled until the reform due in autumn is implemented and due to the uncertainty of COVID, like to have seen these rates cancelled for pubs until 2022.

"We are also disappointed that the five per cent VAT has not been extended for the whole year but are glad the government see this as an important figure moving forward as a sensible tax rate for the hospitality industry."

Earlier this year the Save St Albans Pubs initiative joined forces with CAMRA to campaign against the government's policy of not allowing takeaway sales from pubs during Lockdown 3.0, driving customers to supermarkets which are one of the high risk locations for Covid infection.

Sean said: "We want to see taxation increases on supermarkets and online stores to enable tax decreases on pubs and we are urging the Chancellor to review taxation in general to support high streets and pubs by taxing us all fairly."

But SSAP welcomed news in the spring Budget that the furlough support scheme has been extended to September.

Sean said: "This will save hundreds of jobs in the industry across St Albans as we start to gradually reopen.

"This pandemic may have ripped through our pubs but we will be here for you once we can reopen and we will all need your continued support to get through this. Thank you St Albans for being incredible."

The Save St Albans Pubs campaign has also created a new limited company to become a stronger voice both locally and nationally, and would be keen for publicans to join as directors.