By Karen Peattie

AN independent brewery fears it could have to shut down its operation as a result of the Scottish Government’s deposit return scheme (DRS), set to be introduced in 2022, unless it can grow its business.

The Scottish Parliament passed the draft regulations last month although some MSPs and industry trade associations expressed disappointment that the vote had taken place during the coronavirus disruption when many food and drink businesses are under pressure.

Dave Lannigan, who set up Glasgow-based Ride Brew Co as a social enterprise, said the legislation was “pushed through the Scottish Parliament without any announcement or contact with small independent producers”.

He added: “As we struggle to survive Covid-19 the fees for DRS will start in around 18 months along with multiple stock keeping units (SKUs) and label costs and storage space needed – it’s a huge financial burden. We will have to put our prices up as we will have to pay a 20p deposit and 6p admin charge for each can we produce.”

Mr Lannigan, Ride Brew’s head brewer, added that the cost and complexity of the scheme could make selling cans and bottles uneconomical for smaller firms.

“It will force us to close our doors in 18 months unless we can grow from 1.5 barrels to around five barrels which would get us into wholesale and supermarkets,” he said.

“We had our best year last year.”

Scotland’s deposit return scheme will include plastic bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), aluminium and steel cans, and glass bottles. A 20p deposit will be applied each time one of those single-use drinks containers is sold.

The Scottish Government had previously pushed back the “go live” date for the implementation of the scheme from April 2021 to July 2022.