The Boot Brewery boss retires amid impact of Covid-19 and tax break controversy
He said coronavirus had forced him to ‘take stock of the future’
By Rhea Turner at Derby Telegraph
A popular brewer who caters for hundreds of South Derbyshire ale lovers is retiring amid the devastating impact of Covid-19 and a controversial government tax relief cut.
Jon Archer is well known for being head brewer at The Boot Brewery in South Derbyshire.
But after three years in the job, he is getting ready to retire later this month.
He has enjoyed his time at the firm, but the impact of Covid-19 has prompted him to “take stock of the future.”
Mr Archer, who joined the family-owned brewery in May 2017, said: “The impact of lockdown and the ongoing economic uncertainty, including the proposed reduction of (government tax break) small brewery duty relief for a tiny craft brewery like ours, means that we can’t operate a two-man brewery and still make a profit.
“So we had to take stock of the future – and my retirement’s the result of that.
“I’m not generally one to get involved in politics, but all this fancy talk of supporting growth in the industry is absolute nonsense.
“Taking away financial support from the very smallest will erode opportunity and competition, monopolise the industry and reduce customer choice.”
Mr Archer is now looking forward to relaxing and spending quality time with his family.
He said: “I was delighted to have been given this opportunity.
“The role has been tremendous fun and truly rewarding.
“I’ve made great friends whilst crafting exciting and interesting beer.
“It’s now time for me to take a step back from the heavy lifting, enjoy more quality time with my lovely wife Jacqui and my family and seek out new adventures.”
Co-worker Sean Mather will take the reins from Mr Archer, running the operation alone.
He has been a brewer at Boot Beer since November 2019, having previously worked for AB InBev at the University of Nottingham.
Mr Archer said: “Sean is a really great brewer and he’s excited to get stuck into the role.
“I wish him all the very best and look forward to sampling his beer.”
Established in 2015 when it began brewing in Repton, the brewery predominantly supplies cask and keg ales to the three pubs in the Bespoke Inns group, including The Dragon, in Willington; the Boot Inn, in Repton – behind which the brewery is located; and Harpurs, in Melbourne.
Through distributors and other breweries, the beer is also supplied to outlets across the midlands and beyond.
Mr Archer says Boot Beer uses the “very best ingredients”, including Warminster malt and Farams hops to create its range of vegan-friendly beer.
He will step down from the role on August 21.
A Treasury spokesman said: “We invest over £65 million per year in craft brewing through Small Brewers Relief.
“We’ve consulted with hundreds of breweries who have told us that the relief was being withdrawn too quickly, and therefore preventing their businesses from growing.
“To support these small breweries, our proposals will mean that they’ll still benefit from the relief as they gradually expand their businesses, rather than having an all or nothing approach where it’s rapidly withdrawn above a certain level.
“The smallest 80 per cent of breweries will be unaffected by these proposed changes, and we look forward to working with the industry as our consultation progresses.”
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