Brains Brewery prepares for Welsh reopening

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Ready to reopen: Welsh operator and brewer SA Brain has outlined its plans to open its managed pubs next week
Ready to reopen: Welsh operator and brewer SA Brain has outlined its plans to open its managed pubs next week

Related tags: Property, Wales, Brains

Brains Brewery has outlined its plans to support the recovery of its pubs ahead of their reopening next week.

Pubs in Wales will be allowed to reopen for indoor use on Monday 3 August, almost a month after their English counterparts reopened.

Brains said it will reopen 40 of its managed pubs on this date and expects most of its 60 partner sites will also open their doors for punters.

Its reopening plans include a phased rent arrangement to help operators build up their trade, discounted draught pricing and an enhanced staff training programme.

Alistair Darby, chief executive of the brewery said: “In order to support our partners, we have announced further measures to support their businesses well into 2021. 

“As we entered lockdown, we immediately suspended all rents for our partners and our intention is to support them all the way into 2021 as they adapt to the ‘new normal’ and its impact on trading.”

“Our support is tailored to give us flexibility to ensure that both our partners’ businesses and our own business will be sustainable in the long term. Our intention has always been and will always be to ensure we have a long term viable and sustainable business relationship with all our partners. Our partners’ success is critical to our success.”

Devastating period

Mark Newbold, Brains’ partner at the Star in Troes near Bridgend, said the past few months had been challenging but he formulated a recovery plan with support from his business development manager. 

“The effect of Covid-19 has had a huge impact on our business. On 11 March, after the Prime Minister’s announcement that no one should go to pubs or restaurants, it was devastating for the industry.”

Worst feeling

In this week, Newbold estimated he lost in excess of £15,000 in sales, and food and beer waste of around £8,000 and incurred staff wage costs of £4,000.

He continued: “Then four months of unprecedented times, not knowing was the worst feeling for an operator. 

“When we had a date for our opening it was a huge relief, but what was a huge surprise was the support package offered by Brains, to assist us in the future direction of our business.”

The business operates 160 pubs throughout Wales and announced plans in March this year to dispose of 40 sites “not core to its business” as part of a three-year investment plan.​ It moved its brewing operations to Dragon Brewery, a newly-developed site in Cardiff Bay last year.

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