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We have opportunity to develop local producers into tourist attractions with Licensing Bill, says Armstrong

We have an opportunity to develop more local craft brewers, distiller, cideries and wineries into tourist attractions, Alliance Communities spokesperson Kellie Armstrong MLA has said.

Ms Armstrong was speaking ahead of the Licensing and Registration of Clubs (Amendment) Bill reaching its consideration stage in the Assembly. It is designed to extending opening hours for pubs and clubs and also removing restrictions around Easter drinking.

An amendment brought by Strangford MLA Ms Armstrong would also give alcohol producers the ability to open four days a week, enabling taprooms to be added to local food and drink tourism. She said other producers could then reach the international heights of current tourist attractions.

“The modernising of our licensing laws is long overdue, as they will benefit the hospitality industry and give it a much-needed boost,” she said.

“Our food and drink tourism is a growing market. This is an opportunity to encourage and develop local producers, while extending the opportunity for people to sell their products from their own premises and at market.

“Alliance’s proposed amendments would extend the opening times taprooms can sell their produce for consumption on their own premises. It would not take away from other pubs or hotels but rather enhance the chances for craft brewers, distiller, cideries and wineries to develop into their own tourist attractions. We have seen the international success of the likes of Bushmills whiskey. With this amendment, there is an opportunity to develop similar success stories.”