Pub beer sales down nearly £8b in 2020

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Business leaders press Government for pub reopening date soon after lockdown

Related tags Pubs Bbpa Coronavirus

Beer and pub sector leaders are pressing the Government for a reopening date as data reveals that trading restrictions and lockdowns caused sales of beer to plummet by 56% in 2020.

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and business leaders of the beer and pub industry have published a recovery roadmap to reopen pubs fully after the current lockdown. 

The roadmap states that post vaccination of the most vulnerable, pubs must reopen when non-essential retail and other parts of the hospitality sector reopen.

It also says that mandatory trading restrictions – such as alcoholic drinks served only with a substantial meal, no mixed households and the 10pm curfew – must be removed when pubs reopen in a timely way. 

Upon the re-opening of the sector, the BBPA says the Government will need to continue to provide financial support in the form of a stimulus package to ensure businesses do not fail due to unsustainable debt built up during the lockdowns. 

It says an extension to the VAT cut and business rates holiday will be essential, as well as a significant beer duty cut, to help pubs trade profitably once more and start to recover from 2020. 

Without such a plan to reopen, trade viably and give further economic support to stimulate recovery, the BBPA says thousands of local pubs will fail due to their unsustainable debt and cash burn levels, resulting in ‘local jobs and local pubs that are vital to communities throughout the UK being lost for good’. 

"This is not sustainable for our sector. We cannot continue to hold out under these circumstances. We urge the Government to provide clarity to our sector on when it can expect to fully reopen,” says BBPA chairman Philip Whitehead. 

“As a sector we have invested hundreds of millions in ensuring that we provide places for people to safely socialise in. When pubs reopened in July we did so safely and successfully to world leading standards."

"When pubs can reopen, the restrictions they face – ranging from the substantial meal rule to the 10pm curfew – must be removed. They simply destroy their ability to operate as viable businesses.”

Greene King CEO Nick Mackenzie describes pubs as the heartbeat of their communities and believes  they can play an important role as the nation emerges from the pandemic, creating significant numbers of jobs and reconnecting people.

"But without publicans having clarity on reopening and additional support, there is a real risk of more viable businesses closing their doors in the weeks and months ahead,” he adds.

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