87m pints of beer wasted since start of pandemic

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Down the drain: pubs and breweries could have lost up to 87m pints amid the coronavirus crisis
Down the drain: pubs and breweries could have lost up to 87m pints amid the coronavirus crisis

Related tags: Beer, British beer & pub association, Emma McClarkin, Cga, Lager, Cask ale

Up to 87m pints of beer may have been wasted, costing the industry £331m, since the coronavirus crisis began.

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) estimated, based on CGA’s average price of a pint at £3.81, that more than £330m lost in revenue by pubs was on beer destroyed as a result of the three lockdowns and tier restrictions.

The trade body stated this cash would normally pay for hundreds of thousands of jobs in the sector alongside the maintenance of pubs.

It has called on the Government to extend support for the trade if pubs are to remain shut, which included a continuation of the VAT cut and business rates holiday, alongside a drop in beer duty when pubs reopen.

Trade in limbo

BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “Our sector is in limbo. At several points in the past 12 months, pubs and breweries have effectively had to pour their revenues down the drain.

“We have no idea or clarity from Government on when we can reopen again. What we do know is if we cannot reopen in the near future, without further Government grant support and extensions to the job retention scheme, pubs and brewers will no longer have the cash left to survive and a wave of closures will be inevitable with jobs lost.

“Even when they can reopen, pubs and brewers are still likely to need Government support to help them kick-start their businesses again.”

She outlined how financial aid will be crucial for the trade to restart once again and help steer the economy.

Stimulus support

McClarkin added: “With a Budget coming up in March, we are urging the Chancellor to continue to support our sector in what we hope are the final months of this crisis.

“If pubs remain closed beyond March, further grants need to be delivered to them and brewers. Without this, neither pubs or brewers will be around to brew and serve beer when we can reopen.

“Stimulus support is also going to be essential for our sector to kick-start again and lead the economic recovery. The VAT cut for hospitality, whilst welcome, has not been used as the sector has been closed. It must be extended. Likewise, the business rates holiday must be extended as pubs do not have the cash to pay it now because they have been closed.”

The BBPA boss highlighted how high taxes on beer are compared to other areas in Europe to press the importance of a drop in beer duty.

“£1 in every £3 spent in a pub goes to the taxman because of excessively high beer duty,” she said.

“We pay 11 times more beer duty than Germany or Spain. Having been closed or facing restrictions for the best part of a year, now is not the time to be punishing pubs and brewers with the excessive beer duty we pay in the UK. The Chancellor must listen to the 490,000 people who have signed the Long Live the Local petition and cut beer duty in his Budget to protect pubs and jobs."

Related topics: Beer

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