St Austell Brewery has successfully re-opened its pubs, after a lot of hard work from its teams, but is now backing a British Beer and Pub Association call to lower VAT, business rates, and beer duty to make the sector sustainable in the short term.
Chief executive, Kevin Georgel, said: “It’s very encouraging to have received so much positive feedback over the weekend, from those who enjoyed their pub experience and felt reassured by the new measures we’ve put in place. We’re happy that we’ve been able to provide peace of mind and a safe, comfortable environment for our loyal customers.
“We’re incredibly proud of our pub teams and tenants across the West Country, who worked so hard behind the scenes last week to get ready to welcome people back. We’d also like to thank all of our guests for supporting us, looking out for one another and respecting the guidelines.”
He added: “However, while it’s great to be up and running again — and things got off to a steady start — the reality is that we still face a long road ahead to recovery. Our trading across the weekend was significantly lower than last year and is likely to remain this way, until consumer confidence fully returns.
“We’re therefore urging the Chancellor for extended support for hospitality — by cutting VAT, beer duty and business rates — until we can get back to a sustainable level of trading.
“Pubs have been at the very heart of their communities, in good times and bad, for hundreds of years. The industry needs longer-term support, to ensure that pubs are protected for future generations.”