Pub bosses warn boozers could start shutting as energy crisis ‘worse than Covid’

Pub bosses have said our beloved boozers could be in serious trouble of shutting as the energy crisis is feared to be "worse than Covid."

The heads of six of the UK’s biggest breweries say time is at risk of being called on the nation's locals within months amid energy price hikes of up to 400%.

Business leaders have signed an open letter to the Government urging it to act now to avoid “real and serious irreversible” damage to the industry, as experts warn seven out of 10 pubs could closer permanently this winter.

READ MORE: Pub slammed over menu change as customers question 'why even bother going out?'

Greene King, JW Lees, Carlsberg Marston’s, Admiral Taverns, Drake & Morgan and St Austell Brewery have all blamed out of control gas prices, following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which has left pub landlords and tenants facing crippling energy bills.

Unlike domestic energy prices, businesses do not benefit from price caps so family brewers and big brands have banded together to call for an emergency support package to save our pubs.

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William Lees Jones, managing director of the JW Lees pub group, said: “In some instances, tenants are giving us notice since their businesses do not stack up with energy at these costs.

“These are not just pubs but people’s homes and the hearts of the communities that they sit in.

“Government needs to extend the energy cap to business as well as households.”

And Paul Davies, boss of industry giant Carlsberg Marstons, added: “The UK’s brewing industry is facing a crisis far graver than that which we faced during the Covid lockdowns of the past few years."

Pubs are already going under and landlady Miranda Richardson has called time on her village pub after her energy bills rocketed from £48,000 to £112,000 in a year.

She made the heartbreaking decision to close the Live & Let Live in Harpole, Northants and said: “Just to break even I’d have to sell roughly 1,400 pints a week.

"On average we sell 400-500 and that’s when we’re busy.

“The bigger chains will survive but the smaller community ones are not going to be able to cut it.”

Mark Bentham, owner of the Beer Box micropub, Bamber Bridge, Preston, Lancs has seen the number of customers plummet as the cost of living crisis squeezes family budgets.

After 25 years in the business, he is unsure if the Beer Box will make it to Christmas.

According to research by trade magazine The Morning Advertiser, seven in 10 pubs could shut for good this winter because of rocketing energy bills.

The survey found over 65% of pub and bar operators have seen their utility costs more than double.

Of those 30% reported a jump of 200% and 8% increases of more than 500%.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of industry body the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “There are pubs that weathered the storm of the past two years that now face closure because of rocketing energy bills for both them and their customers.”

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