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Uk. Collapsing pub with -56% beer sales

The industry prepares to face the "new normal"

In the annus horribilis, beer sales hit such low levels not seen since the 1920s

2020 was an annus horribilis for the pub sector in the UK as well, with beer sales dropping 56% to such low levels not seen since the 1920s. The sector faced severe restrictions during the Coronavirus pandemic, which seem set to continue into the spring. However, it showed signs of a rapid recovery, fueled by the Eat Out to Help Out program. Like-for-like sales of pubs and restaurants fell by just 9.4% in August 2020 compared to the same month in 2019. One recovery slowed again in September 2020 when the Eat Out to Help Out program ended. Sales in pubs were down 17.7% from 2019 levels.

In October 2020, sales in pubs fell by 33.6% compared to 2019. That figure decreased further in November, with sales of 87% lower, before recovering slightly in December (81.1%). Since the restrictions were introduced in March last year, 87 million pints of beer have been wasted. The figures, revealed by the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), show the strong impact the coronavirus restrictions have had on the industry across the UK. With an average pint costing £ 3.81, pubs lost a total of £ 331 million of beer due to regional lockdowns and restrictions.

According to BBPA, for a recovery of the sector it is necessary that traders adapt their premises to the new market needs. For example: technological solutions can be used to minimize the points of contact between staff and customers during service. Offering a takeaway service can be a plus for increasing sales; encouraging guests to book tables in advance could help avoid queues and keep social distances away. Apps that alert customers when restrooms are busy or free could help reduce crowds. "The ultimate goal of these changes is to ensure maximum safety for consumers. The hope is that customers will return to consume in pubs and help us drive the industry's recovery and adaptation to the 'new normal'", says the Association.

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EFA News - European Food Agency
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