When asked for their experiences by The Morning Advertiser (MA) on social media, operators said they had managed to keep costs low ahead of the lockdown announcement in anticipation of further measures.
However, several still reported stock that had to be poured down the drain or thrown away after going out of date in the lockdown. Many licensees said they had given away stock to local charities or customers in need after concern about food poverty in their communities.
Licensee Michael Hewitt shared his experience of stock and the three lockdowns on Facebook.
He said: "Lost over £1,000 of beer in March but got some back in duty rebate. Could see November lockdown coming so kept stocks low, but now bottled beer and soft drinks going out of date, up to another £1,000 depending on when we are allowed to reopen."
Hurt less this time
Multiple-site operator Bruce Brunning said he had also been prepared for the third lockdown. "Because we could see it coming we have been hurt less this time round," he explained.
One of his two sites in Devon lost around £1,500 in stock while the other lost around £2,500, Brunning commented. He said he was assuming wet stock would be largely compensated by breweries as in prior lockdowns.
Publican David Hughes said he had lost about £5,000 on stock at cost during the first and third lockdowns but had managed to keep costs low during the second shorter lockdown in November.
Licensee Ian Durrant was one of a number of operators who has donated crisps and other foods near their use-by date to a local food bank.
The Three Horseshoes pub in Barton-under-Needwood, Staffordshire said it was selling soft drinks, as permissible under lockdown takeaway laws.
Luckily we emptied all opened barrels and @MarstonsBrewery are crediting the unbroached ones but still lost around £500 in snacks, crisps, nuts etc currently selling off short dated bottle drinks— The 3 Horseshoes (@theshoes_barton) January 11, 2021
The Dog and Duck in Linton, West Yorkshire described the high costs of reopening and closing at short notices.
Cost value £1000s each time.— Dog and Duck Pub #ForgottenLtd (@Dog_Duck_Pub) January 11, 2021
Because there has been no notice.
Shutting down & reopening are extremely expensive.
The Betty Cottles Inn in Okehampton, Devon, said it had lost £10,000 in stock to date. Pubs stepped up to help their local communities last year and used their supplies to provide free school meals for vulnerable children.