In the last 20 years we’ve seen more than 25% of UK pubs close, for a variety of reasons.
Ask any publican why their business is struggling and we know we’ll need plenty of time, and a stiff drink, to sit and listen to the long list of reasons.
Putting Covid-19 aside, the licensed trade has had to deal with rising rent & business rates, VAT rate increases, property prices, ever increasing duty on alcohol, the 2007 smoking ban, lower disposable income (as a result of higher household bills and austerity led wage freezes/reductions), the change in drinking trends and the relentless competition from supermarkets have all combined to make the industry one of the biggest casualties in recent years. But of course, the biggest change has been Covid-19 and the associated lockdowns.
Consumer trends now seem to favour wine and spirit drinking and this has hit the more traditional ‘ale’ and ‘beer’ pub.
In addition, as you’ll already know, a term known as ‘pre-loading’ appears to be increasing. This is where drinkers, mainly young adults, buy alcohol in shops and consume it at home before venturing out to a pub or bar later, and subsequently spending less in those establishments.