News


  • Scottish pubs will miss out on selling 1.4 million pints this St Patrick’s Day due to lockdown

    16 March 2021

    SBPA highlights ongoing damage lockdown is causing to pubs The Scottish Beer & Pub Association, the leading trade association representing brewers and pubs, has today revealed that Scotland’s pubs will miss out on selling 1.4 million pints this St Patrick’s Day due to the fact they remain forced closed due to the lockdown. Pubs across Scotland also remain unable to sell takeaway beer this St Patrick’s Day too, due to lockdown restrictions that mean they can only sell food for takeaway. It means those looking to celebrate St Patrick’s Day cannot do so with a takeaway pint of draught beer from their local. According to the SBPA, the loss of sales from St Patrick’s Day alone will result in the trade losing out on £5.2 million that would have been crucial to the sectors recovery. The SBPA said that it was a great shame people were still unable to visit their local to mark such a celebratory occasion in the calendar. Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association, said: “A pint in the pub on St Patrick’s Day is always a joyous occasion, but sadly this year it will not happen. Hundreds of thousands of pub goers across Scotland will be devastated they cannot enjoy a cold one at their local. It’s a real disappointment for our pubs too, who will miss out on what would’ve been a big boost to their trade and at a much-needed time too. Instead, they will miss out on selling some 1.4 million pints. That’s £5.2 million in trade that would have been warmly welcomed by them. We urgently need to get the pub reopen and operating without restrictions so the recovery can truly begin.”

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  • One year on: 200 pubs lost forever, 210 MILLION pints in beer sales lost and £820 MILLION in beer trade wiped out

    15 March 2021

    SBPA reveals devastation to pubs and brewers one year on from first COVID-19 lockdown, reiterates Government must ensure pubs can operate without restrictions as soon as possible One year on from the First Minister ordering the first COVID-19 lockdown, which forced pubs to close, the Scottish Beer & Pub Association has revealed the devastation the nations’ brewers and pubs have faced. The trade association has revealed that 200 pubs are estimated to have been lost forever, 210 million pints in beer sales lost due to a full year of either forced closure, or trading under severe restrictions, and £820 million in trade value wiped out from the sector in beer sales alone. Since the first lockdown in March 2020, pubs and other hospitality businesses have been amongst the hardest hit. They have also faced severe restrictions to their trade during other periods of being “open”, including level restrictions that ultimately forced many to stay shut or open but under conditions that made their trade unviable due to the closing times and other rules. Looking ahead to the First Minister’s expected announcement tomorrow, the SBPA has urged the Scottish Government to give the sector hope by aligning closely to the unlocking plans in England, which indicate that pubs will reopen outdoors from April 12th, followed by indoors from May 17th and with all restrictions lifted by June 21st. Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association, said:  “Our sector has been devastated by COVID-19 and the lockdowns. It has been a year to forget for the Scotland’s pubs and bars. “It is estimated that 200 pubs have been lost forever. 210 million pints in beer sales have also been missed, wiping out £820 million in trade value from the sector. “Sadly, we still haven’t seen the full extent of the damage yet and won't do for some time until things really do go back to normal. And by normal, I mean a return to what life was like pre-covid. “Whilst we continue to assess the full damage to our sector, I urge the First Minister to give our businesses the hope that they desperately need by providing a viable route out of lockdown tomorrow. The previously levels were entirely unviable for the majority of hospitality businesses, and they are desperately hoping for a more straight-forward approach to unlocking this time. “We also hope the Scottish Government will look at providing more support for our wet-led community pubs who, although grateful for all the support they received, will not benefit from the VAT cut to food in the same way restaurants will. Local wet-led pubs have been amongst the worst affected by the virus so it's important the Government goes that little bit further for them. “It is becoming all the clearer that the Government must ensure all our pubs are fully re-opened as early as safely possible. This is when their recovery will really start and until then we stand to lose more pubs and community assets.”  

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  • Scottish Hospitality Trade Bodies Provide Government with Route Out of Lockdown

    15 March 2021

    SHG, UK Hospitality Scotland, SLTA, NTIA and the Scottish Beer & Pub Association set out a pragmatic approach that will avoid catastrophic business failure across the sector. The industry proposed level system would save over 60,000 jobs and contribute more than £1.2bn to the economy in the short term by altering the levels in the Strategic Framework.   A united set of recommendations from organisations representing Scotland’s hospitality sector have now been submitted to the government. The hospitality groups have urged the Government to mirror the reopening plans for England as closely as possible, with the stripping away of additional restrictions such as a curfew and the service of alcohol only with a meal. However, the groups have also provided Government with a series of small tweaks to the levels in the current system that would allow the sector to meet both public health and economy objectives as strict COVID measures remain in place. Research from leading economic consultancy, BiGGAR Economics, shows that this proposed pragmatic approach is essential if the Scottish Government is to avoid catastrophic business failure across the hospitality sector. The figures show that under the current Level 3 restrictions, 54% of hospitality businesses could be operating, which generates a turnover of £269 million and supports 21,900 jobs. If Government were to open with the proposed Level 3 industry ask, 73% of businesses could be operating, generating a turnover of £927 million and supporting 53,300 jobs. Graeme Blackett, Director of BiGGAR Economics, said: “This study highlights the severe negative economic impact that the COVID-19 lockdown has had on the hospitality sector, the businesses and people who work in the sector itself, and in the supply chain.  “It also demonstrates that the changes to the restrictions in the level system that the hospitality sector has proposed, can place the hospitality sector and the wider food and drink supply chain in a much stronger position. Adjustments to the restrictions could get thousands of people back to work and allow the sector to generate turnover and contribute significantly to the public finances in the coming weeks and months.” BiGGAR Economics’ study also found that under the newly proposed Level 2 changes, 91% of businesses could be operating, which would generate a turnover of £1.2 billion and support 68,000 jobs. This is compared to current Level 2 restrictions in which only 73% of business could operate, generating a turnover of £634 million and supporting only 34,900 jobs. Dayalan Nayager, Managing Director of Diageo GB, said:  “We support our colleagues across the hospitality sector in seeking a safe and sustainable reopening of businesses, with appropriate measures to protect people and communities while also securing the economic future of the industry and those who work in it.” CEO of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association, Emma McClarkin said: “Our industry has been devastated by the pandemic and the recovery won’t truly begin until Scotland’s pubs are fully reopened. We cannot afford to delay the recovery and endanger the future of the industry, which is vital to Scotland’s economy. Our hope is that Scotland will follow close to the unlocking plans in England, which would help ensure our businesses are not at a competitive disadvantage. However, should the Scottish Government remain wedded to a regional levels approach then our joint plan would see an additional £658m in turnover and support an extra 31,400 jobs in Level 3 compared to the current system. Government must listen to the industry and give thousands of operators a glimmer of hope.” Stephen Montgomery, Group Spokesperson for the SHG, said: “We hope that this latest research will give the Scottish Government the push to re-address the current levels system which has unfairly targeted our industry since last year. All of SHG’s members remain committed to rebuilding consumer confidence so that we can begin trading safely in the coming months, and I am confident that these figures will solidify that trust amongst our customers.” Willie Macleod, Executive Director, Scotland for UK Hospitality (UKH) said: “The trade bodies have worked closely to propose workable reopening measures to Scottish Government which would improve the viability prospects of hospitality and licensed businesses which have been among the hardest hit in any sector over the past year. UKH urges the Scottish Government to agree a plan for reopening that will remove any risk of vulnerable businesses failing at the eleventh hour. The plan for reopening Scotland’s economy has to acknowledge that hotels, bars and restaurants are still at severe risk and must place the survival of our sector, which will be integral to the economic recovery of the country, at its heart. The report from BiGGAR Economics shows how the reopening of hospitality venues can secure jobs, kick-start the vital supply chain and ensure that public health remains a priority.”  Mike Grieve, Chairperson of NTIA Scotland said: "We strongly urge the First Minister to act on the proposed revised levels as outlined in the Hospitality Joint Association letter, and to engage in discussions with the group to find solutions appropriate to the needs of all hospitality businesses as a matter of urgency. The priority must be to set a clear roadmap out of lockdown as vaccination levels rise and hospitalisation rates drop, and to aim for full reopening of the sector at Level 0 with the complete removal of all trading restrictions, including social distancing, restricted capacity, restricted trading hours, curfews and restrictions on entertainment, performance, music and dancing." Colin Wilkinson, Managing Director of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) said: “Hospitality sector groups have joined together to present a proposal which will provide a more sustainable environment for hospitality businesses as we continue down the long Road Map out of the pandemic. “With all of the current levels in the Strategic Framework of restrictions affecting business viability across the board, changes need to be made if this important sector to Scotland’s economy is to survive, continue to provide jobs, contribute to the public purse and restart the important role it plays in local economies and the fabric of the community.   By tweaking the restrictions in the various levels, the Scottish Government have the opportunity to throw a lifeline to the industry and those that it employs as we ride out the storm. “The BiGGAR Study shows that minor changes will give the boost that the industry needs and will aid the recovery of a sector that is battered and bruised.”

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  • Scottish pubs lose sales worth 1.2 million pints and 350,000 meals due to second Mother’s Day lockdown in a row

    12 March 2021

    The Scottish Beer & Pub Association, the leading trade association representing brewers and pubs in Scotland, has today revealed that Scottish pubs will miss out on 1.2 million in sales of pints and 350,000 in sales of meals due to the lockdown of pubs this Mother's Day. Pubs across Scotland will remain closed and unable to serve takeaway beer on Mothering Sunday – which falls on Sunday 14th March this year – because they remain in lockdown. Pubs were also forced to shut for Mother’s Day in 2020, which fell on 22nd March and shortly after the first UK lockdown on March 16th. It means for the second year in a row, Scottish families have not been able to celebrate the occasion in their local with a Sunday lunch. According to the SBPA, this Mother’s Day alone will result in the trade losing out on £8 million in sales which would have been crucial to the sectors recovery. More importantly though, it said, was the fact that thousands of communities across Scotland were unable to celebrate Mother’s Day with loved ones in their local for the second year in a row. Despite being unable to open and serve their communities at the pub, operators have done all they can to ‘Save Mother’s Day’ and provide the pub experience at home this Sunday. The BBPA said pubs across Scotland were offering takeaway roast dinners and cook-at-home kits to enable Scots to get the Sunday pub roast experience at home for Mother’s Day. It encouraged people to ask their local if they were offering such a service. Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association, said: “A pub Sunday Roast on Mother’s Day is one of life's simple pleasures, yet for the second year in a row, families will not be able to celebrate the occasion at their local. “The pub is the place where we connect and spend quality time with one another, so it is a great shame they are not open for Mother’s Day again. “From a trade perspective, it does mean our pubs will miss out on some much-needed support too. On a typical Mothering Sunday they would expect to sell some 1.2 million pints and 350,000 meals. That’s £8 million in trade which they really could do with right now. “As ever, our locals are still doing all they can to serve their communities despite the lockdown, safely. This has seen pubs innovate and create ‘makeaways’, cooking kits and more traditional takeaways. Although it isn’t quite the same as being in the pub, it is the next best thing.” The Scottish Beer & Pub Association, the leading trade association representing brewers and pubs in Scotland, has today revealed that Scottish pubs will miss out on 1.2 million in sales of pints and 350,000 in sales of meals due to the lockdown of pubs this Mother's Day. Pubs across Scotland will remain closed and unable to serve takeaway beer on Mothering Sunday – which falls on Sunday 14th March this year – because they remain in lockdown. Pubs were also forced to shut for Mother’s Day in 2020, which fell on 22nd March and shortly after the first UK lockdown on March 16th. It means for the second year in a row, Scottish families have not been able to celebrate the occasion in their local with a Sunday lunch. According to the SBPA, this Mother’s Day alone will result in the trade losing out on £8 million in sales which would have been crucial to the sectors recovery. More importantly though, it said, was the fact that thousands of communities across Scotland were unable to celebrate Mother’s Day with loved ones in their local for the second year in a row. Despite being unable to open and serve their communities at the pub, operators have done all they can to ‘Save Mother’s Day’ and provide the pub experience at home this Sunday. The BBPA said pubs across Scotland were offering takeaway roast dinners and cook-at-home kits to enable Scots to get the Sunday pub roast experience at home for Mother’s Day. It encouraged people to ask their local if they were offering such a service. Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association, said: “A pub Sunday Roast on Mother’s Day is one of life's simple pleasures, yet for the second year in a row, families will not be able to celebrate the occasion at their local. “The pub is the place where we connect and spend quality time with one another, so it is a great shame they are not open for Mother’s Day again. “From a trade perspective, it does mean our pubs will miss out on some much-needed support too. On a typical Mothering Sunday they would expect to sell some 1.2 million pints and 350,000 meals. That’s £8 million in trade which they really could do with right now. “As ever, our locals are still doing all they can to serve their communities despite the lockdown, safely. This has seen pubs innovate and create ‘makeaways’, cooking kits and more traditional takeaways. Although it isn’t quite the same as being in the pub, it is the next best thing.”

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  • Tied Pubs Bill a ‘Kick in the Teeth’ say Pub Tenants

    09 March 2021

    ~ 72% say business survival less likely without pub company partnership ~ A Parliamentary Bill which is set to become legislation at the end of the month is a ‘kick in the teeth’ say those who the bill is intended to protect. The Tied Pubs (Scotland) Bill which was proposed by Neil Bibby MSP and is due to be voted on in the Scottish Parliament on 23 March aims to regulate the commercial partnerships between tenants who lease a pub and their pub owning businesses. But, nearly a quarter of pub tenants who Mr Bibby claims will be supported by the bill if it comes into law, have signed a letter saying they oppose it. 182 tenants have written to the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, asking for her to reconsider the bill. Under the current tied pubs business model which has existed for generations, pub tenants can lease a pub at a low cost, with a much reduced rent, in return for sharing of financial rewards through beer sales at the pub. The pub owning business also supports the tenants through capital investment in the pub. During the pandemic tenanted pubs in Scotland have been supported by pub owning businesses to the tune of £6m through rent reductions. In a recent survey conducted by Scottish Beer and Pub Association, 90 pub tenants representing 200 pubs responded to a poll on their views on pub tenancy and 72% of pub tenants say without the support from their pub company partner, reopening and business survival would have been less likely in the last year. Simon Mcleod, who operates two tenanted pubs, Tannahills and Tea Gardens Tavern in Paisley, said: “The restrictions that are required to prevent the spread of Covid-19 have had devastating financial consequences for pubs and if it weren’t for the tied pub model the situation would be a whole lot worse right now.” When asked what priorities the Scottish government should be focussing on right now, respondents to the survey said that fighting the pandemic and reopening the sector came out top, with creating new regulation for the leased and tenanted model coming in at second to last in priorities. “This just isn’t the right time to be considering legislation that is only going to stifle our recovery. The focus now from MSPs should be on revitalising the industry and the timing of this bill is really not good. I think it’s unwise and we should be concentrating on the economy”, added Mcloed. Struan Robertson who operates Balavoulin in Aviemore said of the uncertainty created by the Bill, “I think that it’s pretty much a kick in the teeth”. He adds that future investment in his pub has been paused. “It’s not even Covid that’s brought this to a halt, it’s the Tied Pubs Bill,” he concluded. 70.5% responded that the current tied pub system is a good low-cost entry in running a pub. Brian Matthews tenant at the Oswalds Bar in Glasgow said, “I was looking for a pub in Glasgow city centre. A tied deal was the only way I could have got a city centre location in Glasgow, as a free-of-tie rent would have been too much for me to get started. I was happy to sign up to a tied deal and the support [my pub company partner] has given me throughout the crisis has been excellent.” Emma McClarkin CEO of Scottish Beer and Pub Association said, “The results of this survey show very clearly that pub tenants value the pub partnership model don’t want this legislation. Regulations that interfere with business partnerships are a hinderance, not a benefit, particularly at a time when Scottish Government and MSPs should be focussed on a workable roadmap to re-opening and recovery of the sector.”

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  • SBPA Welcome Extension to Business Rates Relief

    16 February 2021

    In response to the statement by the Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes MSP, confirming that retail, tourism, hospitality and aviation businesses will pay no rates during 2021-22 Emma McClarkin, CEO of Scottish beer & Pubs Association said:“We welcome the news today that the Scottish Government has heeded our calls for further fiscal support for our sector. This news gives relief to the thousands of pub businesses in Scotland who have now been closed for several months and remain unclear when they will be able to open their doors again. Our industry is teetering on the precipice and we now urgently need a clear roadmap to reopening from the First Minister when she unveils her Framework next week - hospitality cannot be at the end of the queue.”

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