London: The United Kingdom's popular Pub culture and industry could soon be a thing of the past, if the government headed by Boris Johnson fails on "immediate and decisive" actions.
The head of British Beer and Pub Association sought the government's action to prevent massive job losses and permanent pub closures.
Emma McClarkin, the association's CEO is reported as saying in a letter, "The UK pub and brewing industry is tonight facing an existential crisis as a direct result of the guidance issued by the government today. Thousands of pubs and hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost in the very short term unless a proactive package creating cash and liquidity is provided immediately to the industry."
"Forced pub closures without a meaningful support package will have a catastrophic financial and social impact," said the letter published in The Metro newspaper on Tuesday.
As on Tuesday morning, the UK reported 55 deaths and 1,500 coronavirus infections. With no vaccine in place, the message passed by administrators to citizens is to self-quarantine and start working from home. At a press conference in Downing Street on Monday afternoon, Prime Minister Boris Johnson advised people to start working from home "where they possibly can".
The message was loud, clear and chilling for the pub industry - "You should avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues," added Johnson.
UK's brewing and pub industry appears underrated if one goes by the statistics collected by British Beer and Pub Association. The association's data suggests that 35 million barrels were sold in 2004. This number has come down to a moderate 27 million barrels in 2018. A signficant number of barrels are exported to countries such as the US and even Germany.
Brewing and Pubbing is at least a 11.1 billion pound (direct 58.3%, indirect 27.2%, Induced 14.5%) industry.
Here's some more statistics of UK's Brewing industry.
1. Direct Employment : 894,817
2. Total Pubs: 48,349
3. Breweries: 1,888
4. Tax revenue: Drinking 5 pints a week results into 141 pounds in beer tax for the year.
5. Tax: 12.7 billion pounds
6. Investment: 2 billion pounds
The damp industry outlook not only affects UK's brewing industry, but will also significantly affect real estate prospects across markets. "I cannot emphasize strongly enough how critical it is that action is taken now. Failure to do so will destroy the industry," adds McClarkin, the CEO of the British Beer and Pub Association.
Until recently, pub, restaurant and theatre industry leaders were concerned because the government had not ordered them to close business. But the fears have only magnified on Monday. Caroline Norbury, chief executive of the Creative Industries Federation, called the advisory a "crippling blow". UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls said that it left the industry in "limbo with no recourse to insurance".
An extraordinary lock-down and no-gatherings policy has dented the chances of any cheers moment and increased the threat-perception among beer brewers.
Disclaimer: AP Image of a customer drinking beer. The image is used only for representational purposes.