The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has today called on the government to ‘Get Britain Brewing Again’, by giving the UK’s 2,000 breweries sufficient notice and a definitive date for when pubs will reopen, enabling them to brew fresh beer and get it into pubs ready for their re-opening.
The trade association has said that pubs will need a minimum of three weeks, but “ideally four weeks” notice to allow them sufficient time to prepare to re-open.
The BBPA said failure by the government to give clear and definitive notice could risk pubs reopening without enough fresh draught beer.
It added that pubs will also need to give sufficient notice to furloughed staff that they are required to return to work.
They also need time to ensure equipment and systems are operating and cleaned to necessary standards, as well as enabling the clearance of pub cellars and the replacement of beer.
The organisation said brewers will need the time to “scale-up” their operations to start re-supplying pubs with fresh beer. Real ale, a style unique to the UK, takes around three weeks to brew. Lager typically takes longer than ale.
Emma McClarkin, CEO of the BBPA, said: “We must get Britain brewing again to ensure our pubs re-open serving the fresh draught beer we love so much. It would tragic if pubs were to re-open without sufficient draught beer that so many beer drinkers and pub goers have missed these last few months.
“The government must give sufficient notice to our sector by confirming a definitive date when pubs will be allowed to re-open. At least three weeks’ notice is needed, ideally four, to ensure enough draft beer can be brewed and be ready to go into pubs for when they re-open.”
She added: “That means the Government must confirm by 13 June if pubs can definitely reopen on 4 July as indicated in their roadmap for unlocking the economy.
“Our pubs and breweries are desperately in need of this clarity. Beer sales in pubs were zero in April meaning that total beer sales were down by 24% in April, so it’s imperative we get brewing our world class beer again and re-open pubs as soon as possible.”
She concluded: “This will save pubs from permanent closure and protect the vital local jobs pubs and breweries support across the UK.”
The news comes as the BBPA warned that for the tapered support to work, all pubs need to be open and operating at a sustainable level by the time the tapering kicks in.
According to the association, it has therefore reiterated that the government “must review” the current two metre social distancing guidance and consider the advice and guidance of the World Health Organisation from July.
The BBPA said this would significantly increase the number of the UK’s 47,000 pubs that could safely re-open from one-third to three-quarters in July and at levels that would be more operationally viable, enabling more pub staff to return to work as the furlough scheme tapers off and reducing the risk of job losses.