BBPA reveals 270m fewer pub pints served this December than last year

The British Beer & Pub Association, the leading trade association representing brewers and pubs, has today revealed it now expects beer sales in pubs to be as much as 90% lower than normal this December, a decrease of 270 million pints.

The finding is from data the trade association has analysed from its beer sales volume survey it has conducted monthly for the last 20 years. The analysis revealed that typically during the month of December, including Christmas, pubs sell almost 300 million pints of beer.

However, this December, based on data gathered so far under the new tighter tier systems which have kept the majority of pubs closed with even more likely to close following a poor opening weekend, and the rest open but only able to serve alcohol with a substantial meal, the trade association forecasts as few as 30 million pints of beer will be sold in pubs this month, including the festive period.

The trade association said the forecast showed the extreme impact the tier system is having on the viability of pubs and breweries this Christmas. It has calculated that the much lower pint sales in December would result in as much as £935 million in turnover being wiped-out from the pub and brewing sector this month in beer sales alone.

It is calling on the Government to review and reduce the tier restrictions pubs face, else provide them with the full and proper grant support they need to survive the winter and ensure they remain to re-open properly in 2021.

The trade association said such support would also need to be provided to brewers whose sales in supermarkets and off-licenses are not making up anywhere near the volume and value of the 270 million pints they aren’t selling in pubs this month or in previous months since March.

It also said this analysis highlights that fewer people will be visiting the pub this month in the run up to and over Christmas, because of the severe limitations the tier systems have on pubs and their ability to serve customers even a pint of beer without a substantial meal.

The trade association said this was a great shame as pubs are the heart of communities and have traditionally played a very important role at Christmas as a space for communities and families to gather and get in the Christmas spirit.

Emma McClarkin, BBPA's Chief Executive, said, “These stark numbers show that this Christmas could be the last for many of our pubs. With trade up to 90% lower than usual, many pubs simply won't survive without Government either easing the restrictions or providing more support for pubs and brewers.

“The one-off payment for pubs of £1,000 doesn’t come anywhere close to compensating for up to 270 million lost pint sales or almost £1 billion hit to their turnover.

'Currently, in England there is no compensation available for our hard-hit breweries unlike in Wales and Scotland, where it has at least been recognised that they too are suffering as a result of these tighter restrictions being placed on the whole hospitality sector.

“The saddest thing of all is that our pubs should be properly open this Christmas. Christmas isn’t the same without a pint at the local with friends and family. These 270 million lost pints reflect 270 million lost opportunities for friends, families and communities to be together enjoying their local pub this Christmas.'

McClarkin finished, 'A key part of the Christmas spirit is going to be lost this year with so many pubs closed.”