Craft brewery numbers continued to grow despite pubs being shut through Covid. The opening of over 200 breweries is one of the few positives the hospitality trade can take from the past 18 months. Over the past 5 years UK craft brewery numbers have seen 1,100 additions. The loss of hospitality business had seen breweries discovering alternate routes to the consumer. The entrepreneurial spirit coupled with the public’s ever demanding and enthusiastic palate has been largely responsible for craft brewery numbers. The micro brewery trade are committed to the lifestyle and there is always the incentive of building a valuable brand. The momentum will need to continue through and beyond April 12th when outdoor drinking commences and indoor from May 17th. The increase in Craft/Micro breweries in 2020 is significant given that trading days were down 44%. Furthermore that UKHospitality reported around 640,000 job losses and the sector having taken one of the biggest hits.
Localis produced the Power of Pubs report that impresses on the government the need to protect the hospitality industry. Pubs play a massive role in communities and employment and is critical in rural areas. The research analyses government attempts throughout the pandemic to preserve our national institution. The terminology embraced by the report is one of ‘levelling up’ the nation, social resilience and community cohesion. Asides from generating over £12bn in wages pubs underpin local economies and infrastructure. The report urges the roadmap to re opening be strictly adhered to and the exit date of June 21st is delivered. Furthermore medium to long term measures may be established to support a sustained viable recovery. Moreover a longer term approach suggests reducing taxes to further support recovery. Moreover licence fee refunds, beer duty cuts and striking a balance over takeaways and the use of outdoor space.
The British publican should be treated fairly and prioritised. The extension of the 5% VAT rate and furlough scheme are to be welcomed. However the uncertainty and rash nature of restrictions and lockdowns left an already embattled industry in limbo. The thought of 87 million pints down the drain at a cost of £331 million is a very bitter pill to swallow. Severn Trent disposed of 3.5 million litres, Thames Water made provisions for disposal of 3 million litres. The increase in craft brewery numbers is an indicator in itself that entrepreneurs see the industry bouncing back. The hospitality industry will be a major player and contributor to the recovery of the UK economy. The government is providing ‘Restart Grants’ per premises of up to £18,000. The grant available to those who, due to circumstances, may still be unable to open in good time.