THE boss of a social enterprise brewery has spoken of fears his company will be forced to close at the introduction of a new Scottish Government green scheme.

Last month MSPs voted in favour of the Deposit Return Scheme, a measure designed to boost recycling by charging consumers 20p for a single use drinks carton, which they get back when the can or bottle is returned.

But Dave Lannigan, who runs Ride Brew Co. says the cost to his small business could be enough to close its doors for good.

Dave said: "We are not against the DRS, it's a really good scheme and we support it overall.

"The issue is that it is funded entirely by the drink producer rather than the cost being spread across the industry.

"That means an increase in cost for small businesses like ours that will risk putting us out of business.

"We have tried repeatedly to raise this as a concern with the Scottish Government but feel that we have been completely ignored."

Ride Brew Co. was set up on Cook Street in 2016 by Dave, who is disabled, with a view to helping other disabled people into employment.

Dave was in the process of taking on two staff members just as the Covid-19 crisis hit so those plans are on hold for now.

He said: "Everything we have built up, we have built up ourselves.

"I always found getting work and keeping work was difficult because of my disabilities but I had a real interest in distilling and brewing.

"My grandparents left me some money and I thought I could start my own business and help other people like myself.

"It took me a lot longer than I thought it would to get off the ground but I had a lot of support from friends and family.

"My plan was always to be not for profit and have everyone who works here take the same wage, a decent salary."

The DRS comes into force in 2022 but Dave says, after his first successful year as a new business, this might be his last.

He said he will now have to produce two cans for each drink, one with a label for Scotland and one for outwith the country, and two barcodes.

Dave added he will need increased storage space and an admin assistant to help with paperwork, costs he can't afford.

He has now set up a Crowdfunder to raise cash to help the social enterprise.

He said: "It will force us to close our doors in 18 months unless we can grow our capacity to get into wholesale and supermarkets.

"As we struggle to survive Covid-19 the costs for DRS will start in around 18 months.

"We had our best year last year and we feel its been our last."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "We are continuing to work with industry groups as we move into the implementation phase of DRS, and want to see a deposit return system that works well for everyone in Scotland.

"Drinks producers will be responsible for the scheme, including issues like labelling and payment schedules, which is intended to let them deliver targets as cost effectively as possible and in a way that works for them.

"Businesses will also have more than two years to prepare for the introduction of the scheme.

"The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Climate Change recently met representatives from the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) to discuss the concerns of small brewers and Scottish Government and Zero Waste Scotland officials have also met with stakeholders, including brewers, on a number of occasions."

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