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‘Inexcusable’ pub job losses afoot, Liberation Group rebrand, Incipio converts rugby star

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

People moves: the latest news on people moves, jobs and training from across the pub sector
People moves: the latest news on people moves, jobs and training from across the pub sector

Related tags: Jobs, Pubco + head office, Training, Tenanted + leased, Finance

While both Greene King and Eclectic Bars set out redundancy plans, Liberation Group unveiled a company-wide shake-up and Incipio Group announced a new signing.

Analysis: Are we at the pub jobs cliff edge?

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Several pubcos have warned of severe job cuts as the end of furlough approaches, meaning experts' predictions at the start of the pandemic are beginning come true.

UKHospitality (UKH) warned at least 900,000 hospitality workers faced losing their jobs last month (September) without further support from the Government.

According to the Office of National Statistics, the total number of people without work soared by 62,000 in the three months to July and while the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS, known as furlough) was praised by trade bodies. 

Yet, it should be noted almost 100,000 hospitality jobs were also lost in this period. With the end of furlough nigh (due to close at the end of October), the 10pm curfew looking set to stay for the near future alongside the Covid-secure guidelines operators are having to adhere to, it appears the sector could face further job losses.

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Eclectic Bars confirms redundancy process 

The late-night division of Brighton Pier Group has announced that it can no longer continue to keep large numbers of staff on furlough despite securing £1.8m via the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruptions Loan Scheme (CBILS).

The business has also extended its £1.75m revolving credit facility to support its bars working capital requirements.

While Eclectic said it was working with landlords to reduce the cash impact of the March and June rent periods, the operator confirmed a redundancy process given only two of its 12 predominantly late-night bars have reopened. 

“Considerable uncertainty remains as to how or when Eclectic Bar group’s remaining 10 bar sites will be able to reopen,” a statement said.

“Management have taken the difficult decision that it can no longer continue to keep large numbers of staff on furlough without the prospect of future work.”

Government’s pub strategy could cost economy £7bn and 290,000 jobs 

A report published by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) in tandem with forecasting and analysis consultancy Oxford Economics has revealed that the 900,000 jobs in the pub and brewing sector could be slashed by a third unless the Government adopts a new approach to the industries.   

Modelling the likely impact of coronavirus on Britain’s brewing and pub sector, “UK Beer and Pub Sector: Coronavirus Scenarios Report”, delved into three scenarios based on different assumptions underpinned by data and insights from surveys of pub and brewing businesses.  

According to the report, it is increasingly likely that in the region of 290,000 jobs will be lost, while the total economic output of the beer and pub sector in the UK is forecast to fall by 31%, or £7.4bn.

 “This new evidence shows the Government must change tack by reviewing the effectiveness of restrictive measures like the 10pm curfew and providing a far greater package of financial support to save the pub and brewing sector,” BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said. 

“It would be inexcusable to allow more than 290,000 sector jobs to be lost with a £7bn hit to the economy, when it could be avoided with the right Government support to help keep pubs and breweries open. 

“Protecting these jobs - many of which are held by under 25s - will also avoid the economy being hit by the loss of £3.9bn in wages alone.” 


Greene King to cut 79 sites and up to 800 jobs

As reported by The Morning Advertiser (MA)​ Suffolk-based brewer and pub operator Greene King is to close 79 venues and cut hundreds of jobs due to reduced trade. 

The closures represent around 2.5% of Greene King’s 3,100-strong stable with the 800 potential job losses around 2.1% of its 38,000 staff.

The MA​ understands that while 800 of its employees are impacted by the closures, the company is looking to redeploy them in other parts of the business.

“The continued tightening of the trading restrictions for pubs, which may last another six months, along with the changes to Government support was always going to make it a challenge to reopen some of our pubs,” a spokesperson for Greene King said.

"Therefore, we have made the difficult decision to not reopen 79 of our pubs and restaurants. About one-third will be closed permanently and we hope to be able to reopen the others in the future. We are working hard with our teams to try and find them a role in another of our pubs wherever possible.

“We urgently need the Government to step in and provide tailored support to help the sector get through to the spring and prevent further pub closures and job losses.”

Read more here

Greene King

Liberation Group forms Liberation Brewing Co 

Channel Islands-based brewer and pub operator Liberation Group has announced a raft of key changes to structure and branding under new moniker the Liberation Brewing Co.

In a bid to simplify company structure, Liberation Group’s drinks and wholesale businesses Victor Hugo and Bucktrouts will sit under the Liberation Brewing Co alongside its pub and brewery operations.

Drinks and wholesale teams will continue to be headed up by Tim Hubert, managing director of Liberation Brewery and wholesale and retail in Jersey as well as Dave Robilliard, managing director of wholesale and retail in Guernsey.

To compliment the restructure, Liberation Group has rolled out a company-wide rebrand which will include Liberation Brewing Co’s pubs and bars, its brewery output, the Liberation Brewery and Guernsey depot as well as retail outlets across the Channel Islands.

“The simplified structure and new branding pulls together all the facets and areas of the business,” CEO Jonathan Lawson said. “Our brand may look different but that’s where the changes end.

“We still work with the same great teams and maintain the same excellent relationships we always have so, in that respect, it’s very much business as usual. 

“The rebrand has simplified our structure for everyone and makes it easier for customers to identify members of our Liberation family.”


Incipio Group signs former rugby star 

London-based multiple operator Incipio Group has converted former professional rugby player and co-founder of Wolfpack Lager​, Chris Wyles, into a culture and performance consultant.

Wyles, who joined the operator of Pergola Paddington, the Prince and Lost in Brixton on 1 October, won four Premiership titles and two European Cups during a 10-year Saracens stint while representing the USA at three World Cups.

In 2014 he co-founded Wolfpack Lager with former Saracens teammate Alistair Hargreaves. 

“I’m incredibly excited to join the Incipio team,” Wyles said. “It’s a business that I’ve admired for a long time. 

“If this year has taught us anything, team culture and resilience can, ultimately, define a company. I cannot wait to bring some of the lessons I’ve learnt from business and high-level sport to the Incipio Group.”

Incipio Group chief executive Ed Devenport added: “We are delighted Chris has agreed to join us at Incipio, bringing with him a wealth of experience in leadership, culture and team development. 

“I am looking forward to seeing our team of more than 200 benefit from his experience and insight on what makes an award-winning team by helping us develop our core values and cultivating an award winning culture.”


Best Bar None adds Emma McClarkin and Steve Alton to management board 

National award scheme Best Bar None has appointed British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) boss Emma McClarkin and Steve Alton, CEO of the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) to its board.

The industry leaders join chairman, Lord Smith of Hindhead, Philip Smith, as well as UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls, Robert Humphreys, former BII boss Mike Clist and David Lucas, of the Institute of Licensing, in steering the Home Office backed scheme.

“We are delighted to welcome both Emma and Steve to the Best Bar None board,” Lord Smith of Hindhead, said. “Their collective experience and industry insight are invaluable and will complement the work of Best Bar None as we continue into the future, supporting the licensed trade through this difficult time.

“In the light of the Covid pandemic, having our three main trade associations fully engaged is more important than ever as we work together to ensure high operational standards of alcohol retailing and the safe continued reopening of our industry.”

Best Bar None

Greene King and International Slavery Museum announce education partnership

As reported by The​ MA​, Greene King will work in tandem with Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum to raise awareness of the historic transatlantic slave trade.

The partnership will see the brewer and pub operator offer financial support for the National Museums Liverpool’s Black History Month programme throughout October.

What’s more, Greene King’s 38,000 employees will be offered the chance to participate in online workshops on Understanding Transatlantic Slavery while the International Slavery Museum will help the brewer uncover the history of one of the beer maker’s founders, Benjamin Greene.

After founding the brewery in 1799, Greene owned cane sugar plantations in the West Indies where he owned enslaved Africans and profited from their labour. He later campaigned against the abolition of slavery in the 1800s, writing columns in his own newspaper criticising abolitionist campaigns. He was also financially compensated​ when slavery was abolished.

“The move by Greene King to support Black History Month and commit to working with the International Slavery Museum on educational and transformative initiatives is a positive step in the right direction,” Richard Benjamin, head of the International Slavery Museum, said. “Reparative justice must acknowledge past abuses and respond to their continuing legacies.  

“We hope that more institutions and businesses in the UK with the same historical links to slavery can be equally as transparent about their origins. 

“We are therefore pleased to work with Greene King, to share our resources and knowledge, and to help them become a more diverse and inclusive employer, one that can be the model for best business practice.”

Read more here

Greene King copy

Former PCA Newby back in the pub property game

As reported by The MA​, former pubs code adjudicator (PCA) Paul Newby is stepping back into the pub property market in tandem with Matthew Philips Surveyors. 

​Newby, who stepped down as pubs code adjudicator earlier this year​, said he expected some backlash over the news.

“I might get a bit of flack from the usual sources,” he told The MA​​. “But I’ve got a lot of knowledge and experience, and I can work in the market to achieve good outcomes for landlords and tenants.”

He pointed out there was a wide range of agency and professional work in the property market that went beyond pubs code matters, and that he wasn’t setting out his stall to deal with pub codes issues.

However, he added, that he and business partner Matt Phillips would go where the work takes them.

Read more here

Paul Newby

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