Oxfordshire is home to 25 breweries which have been left out in the cold as they do not qualify for cash grants.

While pubs endure a third lockdown, breweries are facing an even tougher situation because, with pubs and restaurants closed, there is no one to sell their beer to.

Although they could still apply for discretionary grants, because they have not been forced to close, they cannot apply for the same cash grants as pubs.

Most breweries have seen sales drop by an average of 80 per cent and have either stopped production or scaled it right back.

Dave Richardson from Oxford Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) said: “They haven’t been ordered to close, but of course their main market has been severely diluted or even dried up, so a lot of them are in quite a difficult situation.”

The blossoming cottage industry of craft beer is something that would be missed by Oxfordshire pub goers.

The craft beer movement has been growing for the past 10 to 15 years. The craze started in London which is home to chic and quirky bars, and breweries such as Tap Social in Botley have brought the taste to Oxfordshire.

Mr Richardson said: “We would lose variety; we would lose some of the different tastes which you can get.

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“It would be a shame to see that new industry starved of development and we do not want to go back to the days of little choice and bland beers that you can get anywhere – we want to see that local entrepreneurship flourish.”

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) is calling for the Government to support the industry by giving breweries a business rates 'holiday', compensation for the millions of pints poured away when pubs are forced to close, and scrap the proposed changes to Small Brewers Relief.

The Small Brewers Relief means tax is favoured to small brewers, but there is a plan to phase that out which would again hit the smaller companies hard.

In the first lockdown, many brewers of cask ale lost huge quantities of stock due to its shorter shelf life.

However, Tap Social brewery in Botley does not make cask ale and its kegs are still in date. Now the team just have to hopes their kegs will still be in date when pubs and bars reopen.

Despite this luck, Tap Social falls between the cracks when it comes to Government funding and the ban on takeaway pints.

Founder Tess Taylor said: “All of our wholesale customers have been wiped out and forced to close, so we have no one to sell our beer to. We can still do retail and sell to individuals, but the volumes are nowhere near what you need to run a sustainable business.”

Ms Taylor spoke to CAMRA magazine the Oxford Drinker and said: “The ban on takeaway is not entirely clear.

"I understand the ban on open containers that could encourage people to drink in the park, but to ban all takeaway is so unfair when people can just go to a supermarket.”

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Matt Ford, retail and tap room manager at Loose Cannon brewery in Abingdon, agreed that breweries are taking a huge financial hit.

He said: “I think people have taken their own paths: some have closed up and I imagine they are hoping for a pay-out for business interruption. On an ongoing basis it looks like the insurance companies may have to pay out, but it is not guaranteed.”

He added: “We should get help along with similar people struggling in the industry. We are a supply part of the industry as well as musicians and DJs, there is a huge proportion who are not necessarily getting the support.”

Loose Cannon adapted to the changes the three lockdowns have brought.

Although the Abingdon brewery did not have any issues with wasting stock in the first lockdown, Mr Ford said that, during the winter period, stock did go to waste.

Unable to sell to pubs, the brewery has cut back on production and started focusing on the retail side of the business, offering click-and-collect and running a beer refills service in its shop.

The brewery makes deliveries in an electric van and has started making longer-life beer. Mr Ford explained they have invested in fresh beer which they call ‘bright beer’ which is sold in various sizes and is not pre-packaged.

The shop has a bottle cleaning machine and a filling machine which enables the life of the beer to be doubled and bottles to be re-used.