The leading trade association representing the UK’s brewers and pubs claims that 35 million extra pints of beer would have been sold in April due to the unseasonal sunny weather which would have meant a 745 million pint total across the month overall.
The trade association, which tracks sales of beer in pubs and shops based on BBPA’s Sales Volume Survey Data Analysis, believes that this would have made it the best April for beer sales in a decade due to it being the sunniest April on record according to the Met Office as well as being the fifth-hottest.
And the 11% off-trade boost that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s diktat to close the pubs provided for supermarkets and off-licences did not make up for the 13% loss in beer sales there overall.
If they’d been able to, pub-goers and beer drinkers would have flocked to their local beer garden to soak up the sun, claims the BBPA, “Instead though, with pubs shut down due to Covid-19, they’ve been unable to take advantage of the good weather and their beer sales will be down 100%”.
April’s fall to zero in on-trade beer sales followed a 40% drop in March when compared to the previous year’s monthly sales figures.
In normal circumstances the good weather would have seen a welcome boost to the beer and pub trade but since the turn of the millennium nearly a quarter (14,300) of Britain’s pubs have closed. In the last five years alone, 4,700 pubs have closed, states the BBPA.
The current lockdown is devastating pubs and brewers more than ever and the risk of permanent closure has never been higher and – as is the case here – pubs are currently earmarked to be among the last outlets to open.
“Pubs were the first businesses to be ordered to shut down and they could be amongst the last businesses to re-open as lockdown restrictions are lifted,” states the BBPA in calling on the Government there to “fill the significant gaps in financial support” that pubs and brewers need to help see them through the crisis.
So far, only 40% of eligible pubs have received the Government grants they’re entitled to.
The BBPA is therefore calling on the Government to broaden access and speed up the delivery of this financial support, to help get pubs through the lockdown.
“It’s a great shame that communities have been unable to go to their local together and enjoy the sun in the beer garden for what was the sunniest April on record,” commented Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, “Pubs losing this additional sales opportunity adds to their woes at this present time.
“The stark truth though is that unless the Government takes decisive action now to increase the financial support currently available, then pubs and breweries are at real risk of not surviving the lockdown and these pubs and the jobs they support will be lost.
“For the sake of all the communities across the UK our pubs and breweries serve – and almost 1 million people employed by them – the Government cannot allow them to close. Investing in pubs and breweries now is an investment for the future when we are all through this crisis.”