London-based brewery Signature Brew has set up a support scheme for UK independent venues that have struggled over the pandemic. With £250,000 worth of beer being given up as part of a commitment to a live music fund, venues nationwide can apply for beer grants worth up to £5000.
This fund will not only support struggling venues but also touring musicians who have seen their main income axed over the last year. Artists with gigs booked in the next 12 months will be eligible to apply for their share of the alcohol, removing one of the main overheads from being on the road.
Grants will be allocated by a panel made up of music industry professionals including Gus Unger-Hamilton from indie band Alt-J, Deepak Sharma (owner of The Troxy in London) and Ed Sellers from Primary Talent Booking.
“We’re passionate about live music and we’re going to help independent venues and musicians however we can,” says the company's co-founder Sam McGregor. “The idea for the Beer Grant scheme came from wanting to offer the thing we do best as a way to make life easier for venues and touring bands after an unprecedentedly difficult year. We want to help as many venues as possible and we believe the Signature Brew Beer Grant will contribute to safeguarding the future of the UK’s music scene.”
Music industry expert, panellist and Alt-J keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton stresses the importance of grassroot venues by saying: “Independent venues have it tough even in years where they're not forced to close due to a pandemic. But without these venues, many emerging artists would have nowhere to cut their teeth, and the music industry would be much poorer from top to bottom.
"This initiative from our friends at Signature Brew – we made a beer together a few years ago – is an innovative and fun way to extend some much-needed help to some brilliant places and help them get the show back on the road.”
The ongoing pandemic has forced venues across the country to close for the last 12 months, leaving over 550 of them at risk of closing for good. Independent venues across the country were already struggling with rising expenses in rent even before the pandemic hit.