Heineken UK is introducing a minimum delivery scheme from 1 August — meaning pubs will need to order three kegs or more of beer or cider per week or they will no longer be able to order through the brewer, writes Michelle Perrett. Under the terms of the scheme, any pub unable to place the minimum weekly order will either be asked to order every two weeks, or be passed the details of local wholesalers. Licensee John McMennum, of the Sportsman Inn, Toft Hill, County Durham, has called the situation “horrendous”. He is concerned as he orders not just his beer and cider through the brewer but also packaged drinks such as Red Bull and J20, and cleaning products. He said: “We are a freehouse and struggling to keep afloat. We are going to get sidelined and have to go to a wholesaler but we don’t get the same level of discount with them. I don’t know what our future holds.” David Jones, a spokesman for Heineken UK, said: “Heineken UK is introducing a minimum-delivery scheme from 1 August in order to address the disproportionately high financial and environmental costs associated with the delivery of small orders. “The small percentage of our customers who are unable to place a weekly order of three kegs or more of beer and cider will be asked to consider placing orders on either a fortnightly or monthly basis. “Alternatively, we can recommend wholesalers in the area who supply our brands and they may be able to offer more flexible deliveries. “As a responsible brewer, Heineken UK is committed to reducing the environmental impact of its business and this change to our delivery patterns will contribute towards this aim.” Meanwhile, Heineken UK is also rolling out a national scheme which will mean the introduction of a service charge on Heineken UK-owned cask-beer equipment, maintained by Innserve. The charge, which represents a contribution towards the cost of cask-beer equipment installation, servicing and replacement — amounts to £2 per beer engine per week. The scheme is being introduced from 1 August in response to a trade audit of the company’s cask-ale equipment. It showed thousands of Heineken UK-owned cask-beer engines are no longer used to dispense Heineken UK-supplied beer and deliver no return on what is an expensive capital investment. Heineken UK said operators can recover the charge through a credit of £4 per 36-gallon barrel offered on all cask ales purchased through the company. The company has run a trial of the scheme with 350 directly-supplied independent free-trade outlets in parts of Yorkshire and the Lake District.