Brigantes, in York, has said it will not be re-opening. Photograph: Market Town Taverns
Chief executives of leading brewers and pub operators have written to the Prime Minister demanding that he confirms, by Friday (19th June) exactly when all pubs will be able to re-open.
The companies include international, regional, family, and independent brewers, as well and national and regional pub operators, who collectively brew 90% of the beer in Britain and own 20,000 of its pubs.
They say the sector has reached crisis point and needs a definitive date by this Friday on when exactly all pubs can re-open, so they can get their pubs ready and ensure breweries are able to brew fresh draught beer for them.
Without this certainty by the end of this week, many businesses in the sector will be forced to cut costs to ensure their survival through the extended period of financial uncertainty. This could result in hundreds of thousands of job losses and permanent pub closures.
It’s not just scaremongering. News comes today that Brigantes, one of York’s top pubs and a Good Beer Guide entry, has closed for good. Responding to rumours in a Tweet, the business announced on Twitter: “I’m afraid it’s true, totally gutted, especially for all our staff and our customers, but we will not be re-opening. Very sad times and don’t even get to have a proper goodbye.”
The stark news comes as the British Beer & Pub Association reveals that pub and brewery businesses are burning through £100 million every month in cash while they remain closed.
‘Our sector is buring through £100m a month just to survive’
New figures also revealed by the trade association show that unless pubs can re-open from 4th July, as indicated in the government’s roadmap for economic recovery, changes to the job retention scheme will cost pubs a further £120 million.
These costs, the BBPA says, could tip many pubs over the edge unless they are given clarity and confidence on when exactly they can re-open.
BBPA chief executive, Emma McClarkin, said: “Britain’s 47,000 pubs and 2,000 brewers have reached a critical moment and need a definitive date on when pubs can re-open. Our sector is burning through £100 million 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 re-open.
“Without a confirmed date for re-opening, our sector is going to have to make some big decisions this week on furloughed staff and when re-opening 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.”