BBPA Report On Closure of 25 Pubs Per Week

Over the course of last year, approximately 13,000 pubs closed in Britain according to the BBPA (British Beer and Pub Association). Though the rate at which our pubs are calling time for good has slowed, it remains that 25 are shutting up shop every week.

Furthermore, the closures have resulted in the loss of somewhere in the region of 13,000 jobs. It is believed that the decline has been most sharply felt in London and in the North West of England. The economic downturn and the subsequent re-prioritisation of disposable income has severely affected the revenue levels generated by the hospitality industry as a whole.

It was reported recently that at a time when the overall beer market suffered declining production volumes – falling by 3.9% – proposed beerduty escalators are being hotly debated. Many believe a relaxation of taxation for the hospitality sector in general would encourage consumers to return to pubs, clubs and other hospitality venues, and not only help to salvage troubled pubs, but to boost the economy by spending more.

Another casualty of mass pub closures may be the independent microbreweries across the country who rely heavily upon pubs. That microbreweries should take the brunt of such decline would be something of a sucker punch, given that SIBA (Society of Independent Breweries) member breweries recently recorded an 8.8% rise in beer volume production.

The number of smaller independent breweries has grown dramatically in Britain over the past few decades, as has the craft beer industry. Both in the UK and in the United States of America, the craft beer revolution has been a consistently growing industry since the late 1970’s.

Further news of the 40th anniversary of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), and the astonishing growth of the group from four to 120,000 members since its inception, makes the news of pub closures somewhat ironic given the overall optimism surrounding the industry.

It may be the case that, as with everything else in this digital age, the option to buy beer online will be the most viable alternative for many. With the increasing production of microbrewery beer, but without a sufficient number of pubs to channel the product, it may be that microbreweries simply cut out the middle man and sell their products directly to the consumer.

That microbrewery production is up, CAMRA membership is up, and the government have defined themselves as a “pub-friendly Government” in the words of PM David Cameron, it seems unfair that the very outlets for such a flourishing beer scene are disappearing.