Sector Struggling

Two Thirds of hospitality venues saw like-for-like drop in profit first quarter of 2024, half operating at a loss or just breaking even.

Trade voices UKHospitality, British Beer & Pub Association and British Institute of Innkeeping released a survey that reports these figures showing a dire state of the industry, yet these are the voices always proclaiming company’s record growth and turnover.
So all that record turnover, and not making profit. Growth as an industry isn’t sustainable, and growth for some companies can only come at the expense of others.

Wetherspoon’s have been spamming the press release circuit this week, with stories like Guinness sales great, wine sales growing, keeping 3.8% lager and not accepting the 3.4% low duty stuff, but they’re also quietly reporting that their profits are down, and they’ve disposed of 18 pubs in the last quarter. 

This isn’t a good state for hospitality to be in, and doesn’t bode well for consumer choice.

Bars and Restaurants Cutting Hours – Working Staff Harder

Since the rise in minimum wage we’re starting to see reports that employers are cutting staff hours, expecting the staff on duty to work harder to cover “pick up the slack” because the venues can’t afford to cover the increases in wages while also having to cover the still rising costs of everything else.

In a sector that is still struggling to find enough staff, we’re at a real risk of burning out the ones we have, and putting people off coming into the industry that’s already hard enough work as it is.

Extended Opening Hours

Government have announced that there will be a relaxation of licensing hours if England or Scotland reach the Euro semi-finals later this year.

Any venue that is looking to screen the matches for the fans and their regulars will be putting in for a Temporary Event Notice anyway. Any venue just cashing in success can now not bother to take that “risk” and instead take trade away from those that actually plan in advance. So, support your local that has made the effort and the commitment, you’ll almost certainly get a much better atmosphere anyway.

BrewDog – James Watts Steps Down

Lots of comments on this one, but what it appears to look like is that he’s just become too toxic for the Brand. There’s a lot of issues still at their Waterloo FunPub, there’s still ongoing issues highlighted by the BBC Disclosure problem, and then he was seen at Nigel Farage’s birthday party.

Why is this suddenly now an issue? Possibly the keenest insight is from Matthew Curtis over at Pellicle Magazine who has highlighted that the deal with TSG expires in August, and they have a £600m bill to pay, and this step down points in the direction of a sale or finally seeing the promised IPO happening. 

TSG own about 22% of BrewDog, and will almost certainly want some return on that.

Thornbridge Unions

Thornbridge Brewery & Brooklyn Brewery’s Garret Oliver save the union system.

Carlsberg Marstons Brewing Company closed the system – ready to scrap it but there was a lot of public backlash, not just around the Union system, but also the closing of all their Marston’s breweries and putting keg beer through a misleading handpull.

Seems a bit of Heritage Washing to make CMBC seem not so bad, all publicity put out as them being great. Including how they’re celebrating 50 years at their Northampton brewery

Garret steps in – he set up Brooklyn, loves English beers, and Carlsberg have the brands rights/licence for Brooklyn beers in the UK so it seems he’s used some of his contacts and pull.
Thornbridge previously “saved” Kelham Island – whilst not brewed at own brewery yet, the plan is to eventually. And seem a stable company, so let’s hope that their plans for the Unions work out.

Amatuer Beats Pros

Last week saw the annual Museum of Cider’s competition, and the overall winner was a chap called Sam Everitt who entered his home-brew.
Sam entered a single variety Dabinett and beat commercial producers from across the world. 

This really does show that the idea of homebrew ciders, beers and wines to be “a little sub par” to be such an outdated view.

Huge congratulations to Sam!