These figures show the immediate and devastating impact that lockdown has had on the on-trade there.
On Monday 16th March 2020, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson advised members of the public to avoid the pub. By Friday 20th, he’d ordered pubs to close – stopping their businesses overnight and making them the first sector to be hit by the Covid-19 crisis.
And while off-trade sales in supermarkets and off-licenses were up 10.6% on the same period last year, this did not make up for the huge loss of beer sales in pubs.
Overall, total beer sales fell 12.7% last March compared to March 2019.
“The data is a clear demonstration of the cliff-edge impact of the Prime Minister’s advice to avoid pubs, followed by the order for them to close for lockdown,” stated the BBPA.
With March’s data showing the impact of 11 days of closure on British pubs, April’s data will reveal the full impact of total closure with no sales in pubs at all.
Whilst the Government has given pubs some financial support to help them through the Covid-19 lockdown, which the BBPA has welcomed, the trade association has identified significant gaps that the Government needs to fill.
Ten thousand of the UK’s 47,000 pubs have not been offered any Government grant support because they’ve a rateable value above the arbitrary £51,000 threshold. This has left some of the UK’s most iconic and well-loved pubs in desperate need of support and facing a real risk of closing forever.
The British Beer & Pub Association is pressing the Government to take action and give more vital support to Britain’s pubs, not only to help them survive the lockdown, but also to allow them get back on their feet when it’s safe to do so.
“These stark figures reveal how the lockdown is having a devastating impact on our pubs,” said BBPA Chief Executive Emma McClarkin, “In April, beer sales for pubs will be zero. This is devastating our sector who still have huge fixed costs to cover, far in excess of the sales revenue and financial support they are receiving from Government right now.
“Local pubs are the heart of our communities. They are vital socially, culturally and economically. Without further support, particularly for the 10,000 pubs who aren’t getting any grants, many pubs across the UK are in real jeopardy of being lost forever.
“When this crisis is over, the first place many will want to visit with their friends, family and neighbours is their local pub. The Government must invest in them now to save them for the future,” she concluded.