Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on alcohol and late-night refreshment licensing has revealed the number of pubs, bars and nightclubs with 24-hour alcohol licences fell from 919 in 2013 to 742 in 2018 – a decline of almost 20%.
This follows recommendations made by a report commissioned by that London “needs to have an active 24-hour licensing regime” in light of the closures of many bars and clubs.
The decrease has been attributed to the high number of insolvencies in the pub and bar sector and the changing attitudes to alcohol among younger age groups by legal firm EMW, which also explains that low growth in real wages since the financial crisis and uncertainty around the outcome of Brexit have dampened consumer spending in the late-night leisure sector.
Additionally, and in keeping with sales data from the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA)'s Beer Barometer – which revealed that sales of beer in supermarkets outstripped those of pubs in the past 12 months – ONS figures also highlighted that the number of supermarkets and stores with 24-hour licences has grown by 40% in the past five years to 2,680 in 2018 from 1,909 in 2013.
According to a report by ticketing and events technology platform Eventbrite in 2017, Millennials, aged 21 to 37, consume just five alcoholic units per week, with seven out of 10 stating they would rather brag about how long it has been since they last drunk than how much they last drunk.
Eventbrite’s figures also found that only one in 10 consider getting drunk as 'cool', with the rest seeing it as 'pathetic, embarrassing', or 'belonging to the older generation'.
“Twenty-four-hour alcohol licences were expected to boost the night-time economy but this has simply not happened,” Marco Mauro, legal director at EMW explained.
“Continued cultural changes in the way people interact and socialise, such as through dating apps, and the rise of Netflix, has created less demand for pubs, bars and nightclubs.
“Increasingly, many individuals are also now not going out until much later in the evening, and, as a result, they can often spend less on drinks at the pubs.”
May result in closures
Mauro added: “For most venues, the potential extra revenue from staying open 24 hours is still not enough to make those businesses sustainable operations, resulting in many pubs and bars having to close their doors.
“Also, the expensive requirement for door supervisors in some local authorities has acted as a significant burden for some businesses.”
“Without a more supportive attitude from local and central Government, we could see a further decline in this part of the late-night economy."