Christmas dinner in the pub - for many Britons, this is part of the tradition over the festive season. But if you believe the results of a survey by the industry journal "The Morning Advertiser", it could soon be a thing of the past in many places.
Because of the sharp rise in electricity and gas prices, more than 70 percent of the rustic pubs are threatened with closure this winter. Around two thirds of the landlords surveyed stated that they could not absorb the costs. According to the report, there is already talk of pubs "dying out".
The warnings of the British Beer and Pub Association sound similar. He published a letter on Tuesday urging the government in London to take action to save pub culture. The pubs would have to struggle with a fourfold increase in their energy costs compared to the time before the pandemic.
Energy price cap demanded
"Without prompt and substantial government intervention, a huge number of pubs will have to close their doors forever," reads the letter, which was also signed by the chief executives of several major pub chains and breweries.
According to the association, the entire supply chain is under a lot of pressure. Among other things, a producer of carbon dioxide, which is important for beer production, has announced that it is going out of business due to the difficult market conditions.
The association calls for an energy price cap for smaller companies. "Without immediate Government support to the industry, we face the prospect of many pubs not being able to pay their bills, jobs being lost and many venues closing across the country," said Greene King pub chain chief Nick Mackenzie. "That would mean all the effort to keep pubs afloat during the pandemic would have been in vain."
Pub culture in Britain, once the social hub of many villages and boroughs, has long been in decline. A new low was only reported in July when the number of pubs in England and Wales fell below 40,000. Unlike the corner pub in Germany, British pubs are a place where whole families often get together. Many offer programs such as bingo, quiz or karaoke evenings and are also booked for family celebrations.
Delivery problems with beer glasses
In addition to skyrocketing energy costs, the UK beer industry is bemoaning falling consumer spending, glass supply problems and carbon dioxide emissions. The industry is demanding lower VAT rates and corporate taxes. The Society of Independent Brewers has warned the government must not delay announced reductions in levies on beer bought in pubs.
In addition to the consequences of the closures during the pandemic and inflation, the bars are also suffering from a change in habits. More and more people drink their beer - also for cost reasons - on the couch at home instead of in the pub on the corner.
"Pubs are an important part of our heritage and our communities and the loss will be huge, both in terms of jobs, tax revenue but also the social impact," warned The Morning Advertiser's editor-in-chief Ed Bedington. He accused the government of "either overlooking or ignoring" the crisis.