Covid-19 / 15 March 2021

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

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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