Snippets of news from government and the industry. Longer stories are at beertoday.co.uk/coronavirus/.
Adnams chief executive, Andy Wood, says pubs could face bankruptcy if forced to follow social distancing rules when they re-open. On the BBC’s World at One, he suggested a reduction from two metres to one, as logn as it does not come at the expense of people’s safety.
Wetherspoon says it is investing £11m to make sure its pubs are safe — for staff and customers — when they are allowed to re-open. It says it has consulted widely with employees, suppliers, and contractors.
Everards, in Leicestershire, has secured £5m in funding from Lloyds Bank through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. Finance director, Nigel Allen, said: “This loan will allow Everards to help continue to support our 170 individual business owners and enable us to remain on the front foot for re.opening once lock-down is lifted.”
Greene King is reducing rents for tied pubs by 90% from 11th June and for the first four weeks when they can re-open.
North Brewing has opened four pop-up bottle shops for take-away sales. These are the Alfred, Further North, Leeds City Tap, and Preston sites. The shops will be open Tuesday-Saturday, from noon-7pm.
Stonegate has announced a support package for publicans who were previously part of Ei Publican Partnerships, according to industry website Propel. Publicans not in receipt of government grants will receive a three-month rent credit for April to June. Publicans entitled to grants of between £10,000 and £25,000 will get trade credits of either 75% or 50% of the value of three months’ rent. Publicans in receipt of the £25,000 government grant will receive 50% trade credit for stock purchases.
Marston’s is to scrap its dividend for 2020 and will put £70m of additional liquidity into the company through an increased bank facility.
Carlsberg UK has launched a digital platform called Love My Local to support food and drink operators who are either closed or facing restrictions, due to Covid-19. The platform is available online and is free to use for all hospitality businesses. It
enables pubs, bars, restaurants, and cafés across the UK to safely sell food and drink to the local community, for take-out and delivery. Businesses can be up and running and trading in minutes.
Hall and Woodhouse will continue its rent and service charge cancellation for Business Partners until at least 27th June, when it will be reviewed again.
Pub owner Heavitree has cancelled tenants’ rent charges for April and May. And its directors have taken a 20% salary reduction.
Joule’s Brewery says it will not ask licensees for full rents even when pubs re-open. It intends to treat its 42 franchisees on an individual, case-by-case basis, recognising that each business will have different needs.
The Liberation Group, with premises in the Channel Islands and West Country, says it won’t collect rent from its pubs for a maximum of six months. Half of headline rent will be cancelled, while other help will be available on an individual basis.
The Campaign for Real Ale is looking for beer and cider educators to develop a syllabus of educational materials so that beer drinkers and pub-goers can learn more about their favourite drink during the lockdown. Online, video and audio content will all be considered from both paid and voluntary sources to develop the campaigning organisation’s Learning & Discovery arm. Fore more details, email email@example.com
Robinsons has joined the pub groups cancelling rent for tenants until premises re-open. It has also suspended direct debits, and frozen payments of loans and interest charges.
Brains has donated £100,000 worth of food from its closed pubs to good causes, including NHS staff, care homes, key workers, and food banks.
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.
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).”
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’.
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.
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.