Snippets of news from government and the industry. Longer stories are at beertoday.co.uk/coronavirus/.


Palmers Brewery has cancelled pub tenants’ rents for April and says it will review the situation on a month-by-month basis.

Budweiser UK has launched a Save Pub Life scheme which ims to donate at least £1m to British pubs. The scheme, open to all pubs, will see Budwesier marketing material and social media templates for venues.

Castle Rock Brewery has launched a hardship fund for its staff. It intends to pay all staff and suppliers in March, and will be able to pay employees 80% of wages in April, even if the government’s job retention scheme isn’t operational by then. Managing director Colin Wilde has cut his pay to minimum wage level.

BrewDog founders James Watt and Martin Dickie have said that they will forego their salaries for 2020 to help protect jobs at the brewery. In a Tweet, James Watt said: “In order to protect as many jobs at BrewDog as we can, many of our senior team have volunteered to take pay cuts, and myself and my co-founder Martin are foregoing all salary for 2020 — but we haven’t started sleeping in the brewery (yet).”

Greene King chief executive, Nick McKenzie, has taken a 50% pay cut for the duration of the Coronavirus crisis. The company has said it will continue paying its 38,000 staff while awaiting reimbursement from the government.

Hall and Woodhouse has cancelled and rent and service charges for its business partner estate, and suspended loan repayments for eight weeks.

Old Dairy Brewery is offering free delivery of beers within a ten-mile radius of Tenterden, Kent, on orders up to £40. This is for bottled and bag-in-a-box beers. Meanwhile, the brewery shop is offering cases and two-pint take-outs.

Big Drop Brewing Co has just launched its online shop and is offering a 30% discount to all NHS, emergency services, health and social care workers “to say ‘thankyou’ for being the heroes of the UK’.

Thornbridge has launched a range of new mixed cases. Find out more in its online shop.

Salcombe Brewery box

Salcombe Brewery has launched a free home doorstep delivery service for selected postcodes in its local area. For more details, visit the Kingsbridge-based brewery’s website.

Star Pubs and Bars has suspended the collection of rent for its leased and tenanted pubs until at least the end of April, as has Daniel Thwaites and Admiral Taverns. Fuller’s says it is suspending commercial rent “for the time being”.

Old Dairy Brewery is suspending its tours until further notice.

The launch of Stone Cask Bitter, in its new incarnation, brewed by True North, has now been postponed. It was due to take place in April 2.

Greene King has told pub tenants it will delay collecting rent and some other charges while the Coronavirus persists.

The Licensed Trade Charity is reviewing and researching the latest updates regarding benefits and any extraordinary
payments that the government may be considering. Updates will be published on its COVID-19 web page.

The Forum of Private Business has joined forced with Fairmile Accountancy, which operates a Facebook group for publicans, representing more than 3,500 business. The group is acting as a conduit to the industry as thousands of tenants face the possibility of imminent temporary closure of pubs. Forum managing director, Ian Cass, has written to the CEOs of the six main pub companies asking them to provide a rental holiday in the event that pubs are forced to shut as part of the government’s response to Covid-19. Ian said: “For years the large pub-owning businesses have spoken loudly about their love for pubs, communities, and the support they offer their business partners, and this unprecedented crisis offers them an opportunity to support those words with actions.”

The new Licensees Association has called on pub companies to adopt measures to help their tenants and lease holders through the Coronavirus crisis. It suggests a rent-free period for any time premises are closed, a release from ties if pubcos can’t deliver goods, and a waiver on Pubs Code timescales, to allow staff to concentrate on more immediate issues.

Ei Group has told its licensees that their insurance will not cover them for loss of business through Coronavirus. It said: ” It has been confirmed [insurer] Zurich is not including covid-19 in its notifiable diseases section.” Most insurance policies were, of course, drawn up before the current outbreak and don’t list the virus as a ‘notifiable disease’.

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