More than 50 pub company and brewery CEOs have urged the Prime Minister to give a definitive reopening date for all pubs by Friday, as the sector “hits crisis point”.
The letter calls for clarity so the signatories can get their pubs ready and ensure breweries are able to brew fresh draught beer.
Without this certainty, many will be forced to cut costs to ensure their survival through the extended period of financial uncertainty, which could result in hundreds of thousands of job losses and permanent pub closures.
The co-signed British Beer and Pub Association letter includes companies who collectively brew 90% of the beer in the UK and own 20,000 of its pubs.
The missive comes as the BBPA reveals the pub and brewery industry is burning through £100m every month in cash whilst they remain closed.
Emma McClarkin, CEO of the BBPA, said: “Britain’s 47,000 pubs and 2,000 brewers have reached a critical moment and need a definitive date on when pubs can reopen.
“Our sector is burning through £100m a month just trying to survive with no cash coming in. That is simply not sustainable. We need a date now to give us confidence and clarity on when we will reopen.
“Without a confirmed date for reopening, our sector is going to have to make some big decisions this week on furloughed staff and when reopening is feasible, with a further wave of redundancies likely. Hundreds of thousands of jobs could be lost.
“Our message to the Prime Minister is clear: stop keeping our sector in limbo. Give us the clear date we need for reopening, so our great British pubs can be ready to return and support our communities and the economy once more. The livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of publicans and pub and brewery employees in every corner of the UK hang in the balance.”
Nick Mackenzie, CEO of Greene King, said: “Despite our best efforts to work with Government and our significant investment to ensure the safety of our customers and team members, with under three weeks to go until the reopening date outlined in the Government’s roadmap, we have neither the finalised safety guidelines or confirmation of the definitive reopening date. It’s incredibly frustrating for us and our people and we need Government to make a clear decision now on allowing pubs to open from 4 July.”
Kevin Georgel, CEO of St Austell Brewery, said: “We’ve been forced to take a significant gamble by starting to brew draught beer again. We’re also investing in our pubs to ensure that we can reopen safely - with the necessary measures in place - on 4th July, as outlined in the Government roadmap.
“On average we need three weeks to brew cask ale and distribute it to our customers across the West Country. Lager production takes even longer. With pubs potentially opening in less than three weeks, we’ve had no choice but to start brewing in preparation.
“If pubs are not allowed to open on 4th July this will be a huge and wasted cost to us, during a time that we are fighting for survival. The Government must not allow this to happen - they must confirm immediately that all pubs can reopen on 4th July.”
Ralph Findlay, CEO of Marston’s, said: “At Marston’s, we have put a lot of planning in place to be able to open safely in early July. We started brewing fresh draught beer again for pubs last week. This week, I must decide whether we bring staff back from furlough and invest in the new safety protocols our pubs will require, as the safety of our guests and employees is paramount. I will not reopen our pubs before those protocols are in place. Without an immediate and definitive confirmation from Government on timing, I can’t afford to bring our staff back to work to do that. It is critical for pubs to be open and trading over the summer, or many pubs will not reopen, and many more jobs will be lost. We need the Government to commit to opening on 4th July – now.’’
Dear Prime Minister
The brewing and pub sector is in crisis. Although we remain grateful for the support measures that have been put in place since March, the increasing uncertainty the industry faces, with the absence of a confirmed date for the opening of all pubs, risks crippling our businesses. This is a moment of maximum jeopardy for the future of Britain’s brewers and pubs. Our sector needs urgent clarification by Friday 19th June of the guidance that we have been working with the Government on and that we will be expected to adhere to, and crucially absolute certainty on the date our pubs will be opening.
The measures taken by the Government have enabled many businesses to survive whilst closed in this period, but it should not be underestimated that the immediate future of thousands of pubs and hundreds of thousands of jobs are at risk in the coming days and months. We are taking decisions now regarding the future of furloughed staff and the uncertainty around the 4th July as an opening date for either some pubs or all pubs, or an opening date for pubs at all, could directly lead to thousands of these jobs being lost permanently and never coming back.
Our businesses cannot afford to continue in limbo. Collectively our members are burning through an estimated £100m a month in sustaining their businesses in the absence of any income, and as the date for reopening of 4th July approaches even more money is being spent on preparing pubs to safely reopen. Indeed, many brewers have commenced brewing again and brought back support teams to enable them to deliver fresh beer ahead of 4th July.
BBPA members are desperate to welcome the British public back into their pubs this summer and we have been working tirelessly to prepare for the 4th July – but it is vital that we have more certainty around what that date actually represents. This will give both businesses and consumers the confidence they need to get the sector back on its feet. Please will you confirm all pubs will be able to open on the 4th July and put to rest any speculation on restrictions on outdoor space only openings, and confirm when the workplace guidance be published to allow us sufficient time to do final preparations to re-stock venues, and to train our staff?
The livelihoods of thousands of publicans and hundreds of thousands of pub and brewery employees in every corner of the UK hang in the balance. We want to work with the Government to get our breweries and pubs back on their feet, but we need urgent clarity from you in order to do this. As ever, I remain available at your convenience to discuss the matters raised above.
On behalf of:
Black Sheep Brewery
Brakspear Pub Company
Budweiser Budvar UK
Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I
Daniel Batham & Son
Fuller, Smith and Turner
George Bateman & Son
Gray & Sons
Hall & Woodhouse
Harvey & Son Brewery
Heron & Brearley
Hogs Back Brewery
Hook Norton Brewery Co
Innis & Gunn
J.W. Lees & Co
McMullen & Son
Punch Pubs & Co
S.A. Brain & Co
St Austell Brewery
Star Pubs & Bars
Thomas Hardy Brewing and Packaging
Timothy Taylor’s & Co
Wadworth & Co
Wells & Co
Pub sector warns of crisis over unclear opening date
More than 50 pub company and brewery CEOs have urged the Prime Minister to give a definitive reopening date for all pubs by Friday, as the sector “hits crisis point”. The letter calls for clarity so the signatories can get their pubs ready and ensure breweries are able to brew fresh draught beer. Without this certainty, many will be forced to cut costs to ensure their survival through the extended period of financial uncertainty, which could result in hundreds of thousands of job losses and permanent pub closures. The British Beer and Pub Association letter is co-signed companies who collectively brew 90% of the beer in the UK and own 20,000 of its pubs, including Greene King, Marston’s and Fuller’s.