FRESH restrictions imposed across the Forth Valley this week have been described as "a devastating blow" to both breweries and pubs in Clacks.

Stuart Cook, one of the joint managing directors at the Wee County's Harviestoun Brewery, spoke to the Advertiser following a Scottish Government announcement which forced pubs and restaurants in the area to close for more than two weeks to curb the spread of coronavirus.

He said: "Pubs shutting initially for the lockdown meant a devastating 75 per cent of our revenue disappeared overnight.

"Thankfully, a nimble change in strategy to online sales allowed us to get through what was undoubtedly one of the toughest times the brewery has known."

Indeed, the brewery issued a heart-felt thank you to customers toward the end of July for using the online service in the first four months of lockdown, with great support from customers in the Wee County.

Deliveries to pubs and restaurants started back up at that time, but are on hold again in the area until an expected date of October 25.

Stuart added: "Just as the Scottish on-trade was starting to recover though, these measures will be a devastating blow to both the local breweries and the pubs that they supply and partner with.

"All we can do at Harviestoun is continue to ramp up our online next day delivery service and hope that these measures do not extend past October 25."

Fresh coronavirus restrictions were announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon last Wednesday, October 7.

Stricter restrictions were announced across five health board areas in central Scotland and beyond, including the Forth Valley.

Elsewhere in the country, hospitality businesses can open inside from 6am to 6pm to sell soft drinks and food.

Alcohol can only be served in outdoor areas until 10pm and Harviestoun will be able to deliver to pubs in areas not affected by the tighter restrictions.

Stuart added Harviestoun delivers to pubs in the central belt but also to further north.

He said: "There's a balance there and those [outside the central belt] will still be open to a degree, albeit the weather will be a major factor."

The Society of Independent Brewers also issued a statement in response to the fresh array of restrictions, which came amid a rising number of Covid-19 cases.

James Calder, chief executive of the society, said: "Pubs and small breweries are in a fragile state because of the Covid crisis and for many this sudden shut down in Scotland will be the final blow.

"A two week shut down will mean fresh cask beer will have to be destroyed in pub cellars, with pubs or small breweries footing the bill, and the beer supply chain from breweries into pubs must once again come to a dead stop."

Customers in the FK10-14 areas looking to order direct from Harviestoun, including the flagship Schiehallion lager or the iconic Bitter & Twisted, can visit for more details.