Published 3 July 2021 in Ferment Magazine
You don’t need me to tell you that the last year has been rough for pubs. It has been tough on us all, of course, but the government seems to have singled out pubs for special treatment. Even as many tentatively re-open, with hundreds of thousands of furloughed hospitality workers returning, the true impact of that lost year is only now becoming visible.
In January 2021, market research companies CGA and AlixPartners published some shocking figures. 9,930 hospitality premises closed for good during 2020. This meant a net loss of 5,975 sites, or about 5% of the entire sector. Sites were closing at over twice the rate at which new ones were opening.
Yes, things have been bad for our beloved pubs. But we mustn’t let ourselves become too downhearted. In dark times, it can be good to stop and look for the light. Because there is still hope. There are still people who care about good beer. There are still people who care about a well-run pub. And there are still people who care about the pub’s role in their communities. I should know, I’ve spoken to them.