The estimation comes from the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), which calculated the sum, based on a judgment that each of the UK’s 47,000 pubs had an average number of 10 taps to dispense beer.
The duty on out-of-date beer that was not sold because of the closure period can be claimed back by operators.
Some of the unsaleable beer has been donated to farmers to use to create organic fertiliser or as animal feed, with many brewers keen to not waste their product completely.
However, it has been a struggle to organise the disposal of so much product amid the lockdown, and heart-breaking for many publicans, the BBPA said.
Many pub operators have shared their videos documenting the disposal of their stock on social media, to highlight the plight of UK pubs during the lockdown and closure period.
Watch: the moment a publican had to pour £3,000 worth of beer down the drain. Read more about how this Leicester pub has been coping with the lockdown here: https://t.co/DfXOLRmlXl#ukpubs#unitedwestandpic.twitter.com/2Bv7kE2DEp— Morning Advertiser (@morningad) April 23, 2020
Publican friends... @morningad@CityOfAle@beerandpub@GBPubConfed@EveningNews@BIIandBIIAB Government scheme for destroying beer ...... they require filmed proof.... this is my attempt!! https://t.co/WV3JuT08CFpic.twitter.com/4jdZN7Pecg— Murderers Pub - Norwich (@murderersphil) March 31, 2020
BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said the number brought into sharp focus how much pubs and breweries had been impacted by the pandemic.
She said: “It’s a great shame that so much great British beer that should have been enjoyed in community pubs up and down the country has gone to waste. People won’t have a chance to drink it because it will go off before pubs can reopen.
“While it is good news that some of the beer can be re-used to help out other sectors affected by Covid-19, such as farming, it is still sad that people are unable to enjoy this beer.
"We believe that pubs should only open when safe to do so, but without additional support now – particularly for those who won’t be able to reopen sooner – many more of our nation’s pubs and the brewers that supply them with beer will struggle to survive closure and beyond. The Government needs to give our sector much more support.”
The BBPA has urged the Government to do more to help pubs in the coming months, including abolishing an exclusionary threshold for grants to help more pubs, deferring beer duty and improving accessibility for loans.
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