LLANDEILO-based brewery boss Simon Buckley has warned that 2013 is going to be one of the hardest years for some time for the licensed trade.

Mr Buckley, chief executive of the Evan-Evans brewery group, said increased duty on beer planned for the budget and rocketing prices for raw materials had cast “increasing gloom” across the industry.

“Pub selling prices are continuing to drop,” he said.

“There is little doubt that there will be significant rural pub closures in 2013 and many small brewers will not survive.

“As far as we are concerned, we have modest plans for 2013 - to increase production across a wider customer base and to bring on line our long awaited bottling plant and new internet beer company.

“Margin is the key word for 2013.

“With increasing unemployment and no short-termWelsh Government initiatives for growth, I think that, for many, 2013 is going to be bleak.

“But we are in the marketplace, profitable, and now building on what is a great brewing tradition and quality offering. Will consumers come out to the pubs in 2013?

Let’s hope so!”