Approximately 50 million pints of beer will be wasted in UK pubs if the Covid-19 lockdown stays in place until late summer according the Campaign for Real Ale…
Tom Stainer, the chief executive of CAMRA, made the estimate on the BBC based on the fact that the UK’s approximately 39,000 pubs have an average of 15 beer kegs or casks in their cellars at any one time.
“It’s a very sad waste of all the work and talent that goes into producing great beer. People won’t get to drink it and all those resources have been used up for nothing.”
The extent to which pubs are affected will also depend on the ratio of pasteurized to unpasteurized beer that the premises sells.
According to the Drinks Business, “pasteurized beer has a longer shelf life (approximately three to four months) whereas real ales (read: cask ales) and other unpasteurized beers have a shorter use-by window of between six to nine weeks.
Last week, the HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs), the UK’s tax collection agency, confirmed that brewers could claim back excise duty on out-of-date beer that occurred during the lockdown.
Many larger brewers including Carlsberg, Guinness, Heineken and Anheuser-Busch InBev, have announced that they would either credit pubs for unopened kegs or replace beer that spoiled during the UK lockdown.
Just as in the US, government guidelines allow pubs and bars in the United Kingdom to offer take-out services. Many UK breweries are now offering ‘drive-thru’ services, selling their beer in recyclable mini kegs, boxes or refillable containers.
Adrian Rothera, co-owner of Pilgrim, a craft brewery in Surrey, England, which sells its beers to local pubs as well as out of its own taproom, told the Drinks Business that online sales have picked up during the lockdown….
“There was a moment before the government stepped in with help that I thought we would have to close down. But online and home delivery sales…gave us a push and it is working really well.”
“While it’s not quite as good as our normal business, it’s keeping us busy and we are getting through our stock to such an extent that we brewed again last week.”
While restaurants, bars and pubs are suffering in the UK, (just as they are in the states) online retailers are understandably performing well during the pandemic lockdown.
Recent data showed that supermarket alcohol sales rose 22% in March 2020, slightly ahead of average grocery sales growth for the month (20.6%).