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5 Feb, 2021 15:01

Down the drain: Covid-19 lockdowns forces British pubs to dump 87 million pints of beer

Down the drain: Covid-19 lockdowns forces British pubs to dump 87 million pints of beer

Closures during Covid-19 lockdowns will force pub owners across the UK to dump nearly 87 million pints of beer, according to the latest calculations by the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA).

The association has highlighted that the “heart-breaking” waste equals £331 million ($454 million) in sales, since barrelled beer that wasn’t sold by its best-before date is commonly returned to breweries, and then disposed of.

For pasteurized beers, including most lagers, that’s usually up to four months after delivery to pubs, while real ales and other unpasteurized beer normally expire after six to nine weeks.

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BBPA chief Emma McClarkin has called for British authorities to allocate more help in the budget for pub owners, including by extending the VAT cut for the hospitality sector.

According to the association, the first lockdown made pub owners throw away around 70 million pints of beer. Bars reportedly bought less stock after reopening due to the real risk of wastage, and amid current restrictions introduced across the country.

In addition to the 70 million pints of beer already wasted, the body expects 10 million pints more to go the same way during the current lockdown.

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“Pubs and breweries are effectively having to pour their businesses down the drain,” McClarkin told the BBC, stressing that licensed sellers were “in limbo” with “no idea or clarity from government on when we can reopen again.”

The executive appealed to Chancellor Rishi Sunak to keep the current five-percent VAT rate for the hospitality sector, which is down from the common 20 percent, in place when pubs are allowed to reopen. McClarkin said that restaurants haven’t had a chance to benefit from it as they were shut during lockdowns. She also called on the government to extend the business rates holiday, which is due to finish at the end of this financial year.

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