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Starting out on the road to recovery

Keep fighting: Martyn Cozens, UK on-trade sales director, Molson Coors Beverage Company shares his thoughts on how the sector must work together to recover
Keep fighting: Martyn Cozens, UK on-trade sales director, Molson Coors Beverage Company shares his thoughts on how the sector must work together to recover

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After what feels like a very long three months, our pubs and bars up and down the country have thrown open their doors and welcomed back people who have been dreaming about that long-overdue fresh pint of draught beer or cider.

While the first few weeks of reopening have been uncharted territory for everyone, and we’re still very much in a period of adjustment, it’s already clear that our industry has – true to self – adapted and pushed on, and will continue to do so.  

I have been blown away by the drive and passion of so many pubs and bars across the length and breadth of the UK to work through the challenges and get themselves open for business. While sadly there have been some casualties, we’ve also seen operators think creatively, pivot their business models and then reopen ready to embrace this new normal. It is so encouraging to see, and exactly this kind of positive attitude we need to take into the second half of the year.

We know that the road to recovery is going to be long and, throughout the pandemic, we have been focused on providing the most effective support and assistance to the on-trade. This is being delivered by providing practical advice and support directly to our customers, and via the British Beer & Pub Association securing the right levels of government support for the industry as a whole.

Work together

With the government confirming that it will be launching a review into alcohol duty in September, we will be working closely with the British Beer and Pub Association and others across the sector to call for the introduction of a reformed system which levels the playing field with other beer-producing nations. We currently pay 11 times more tax on beer in the UK than Germany or Spain, and we want to see a 25% reduction to help the sector not only recover from the effects of the pandemic but also be able to thrive and grow in the long term.

As pubs, bars and restaurants up and down the country find their feet again, we need to stay focussed on working together to build a sustained recovery. This right now is our rally cry. 

Under current social distancing guidelines, we know many operators will be feeling the pinch. My message is to stay true to what made you successful, adapt where required and persevere. The key to making things work is still to get the customer experience right. Making sure people feel safe and comfortable – but are also able to kick-back, relax and enjoy that long awaited glass of something cold. This is what is going to make them come back time and time again. We might be living with this virus for the foreseeable future, so a customer-first approach will be more important than ever if we are to build a sustainable recovery.

Invest heavily

That’s why we’ve concentrated on giving our customers really targeted support to help them create that first great consumer experience. This includes the basics of ensuring they have the key brands they need, readily available and freshly brewed for opening. We continue to invest heavily in our own in-house technical services and quality team and this team have been working flat out over the past few weeks to ensure our customers can deliver a brilliant quality pint. Equally we have provided a suite of options to make the most of outdoor space, alongside practical Covid-secure advice and equipment to help implement safety measures in line with government guidance on our dedicated online customer platforms, In Your Corner​ and My Molson Coors​.

We’re determined to help operators go that extra mile and create a venue that their customers will want to visit and return to. Repeat trade is going to be more important than ever and, while many consumers will want to treat themselves with something a bit special after so long away from their local, others will be hankering for their regular draught favourite, so considering the right balance across your range will be crucial.

Keep fighting

Yes, we are all adjusting, and nobody can be 100% sure what the future holds, but what we can do is keep on fighting. With the government’s ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ scheme launching next week, parts of our sector will hopefully receive a much needed boost, which is why we’d encourage everyone who can sign-up to do so.

We have the finest and most unique on-trade sector in the world – one that people know and love, and don’t want to lose. Across the country licensees are opening their doors again to their communities and doing everything to make sure their venue is safe to visit. It might be some time before we have bars and pubs packed full every weekend, but we’ll continue to be there – whether it’s for friends to catch up over a beer, for families to enjoy a meal out together – without arguing over who’s turn it is to cook or clean up afterwards – or even for those who just want to sit, read the paper and watch the world go by. We know that this sector will be back stronger than ever, and we’ll be in your corner every step of the way.

Related topics Rebuilding the Pub Sector

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