BBPA reveals devastation to pubs and brewers one year on from first COVID-19 lockdown

British Beer & Pub Association

The trade association has revealed that 2,000 pubs are estimated to have been lost forever to date, 2.1 billion pints in beer sales lost and £8.2 billion in trade value wiped out from the sector in beer sales alone

Since the first lockdown in March 2020, pubs have faced a further two lockdowns. They have also faced severe restrictions to their trade during other periods of being “open”, including tier restrictions that ultimately forced many to stay shut regionally or open but under conditions that made their trade unviable due to the 10pm curfew and substantial meal rules.

Whilst the BBPA has welcomed continued support for the sector in the most recent Budget, in the form of £2 billion worth of measures including grants and furlough support, it stated that longer term investment in the sector was still needed. It also expressed concern for wet-led pubs who would not be able to take advantage of the VAT cut for hospitality, which only applied to food, soft drinks and accommodation, and urged the Government to provide more support for these community pubs.

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “Our sector has been devastated by COVID-19 and the lockdowns. It has been a year to forget for the Great British Pub. Sadly, we still haven’t seen the full extent of the damage yet and won’t do for some time until things really do go back to normal. And by normal, I mean a return to what life was like pre-covid.

Whilst we continue to assess the full damage to our sector, I urge the Government to look at providing more support for our wet-led community pubs who, although grateful for all the support they received in the Budget, will not benefit from the VAT cut to food in the same way restaurants will. Local wet-led pubs have been amongst the worst affected by the virus so it’s important the Government goes that little bit further for them

The beer and pub sector in the UK employs a total of 900,000 people – 600,000 of which are directly employed in pubs.