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Suffolk brewery insists pubs can survive prolonged closures – but makes call for further support

PUBLISHED: 08:32 21 April 2020 | UPDATED: 09:18 21 April 2020

Adnams is supporting its pubs across the county during the coronavirus pandemic, but has said they may need further help due to tourism losses  Picture: SARAH GROVES

Adnams is supporting its pubs across the county during the coronavirus pandemic, but has said they may need further help due to tourism losses Picture: SARAH GROVES

Sarah Groves

A major Suffolk brewery has ensured its business remains strong despite the coronavirus lockdown – but has called for further support on reopening.

Adnams, which operates 44 pubs in the county, admitted it looks likely pubs will be some of the last businesses to reopen as a result of the pandemic – coming after it was reported pubs may have to wait as long as Christmas to open their doors.

The brewery has so far cancelled tenants’ rents in early March to help them through the pandemic, and said business rates cessations, grants and the furlough scheme have so far helped to avoid business failures.

However, the brewery’s director of properties Nick Attfield said pubs may require extra support, with many Suffolk pubs relying on the tourist trade to boost profits.

Mr Attfield said: “We’re all looking forward to getting back to the pub as soon as possible, but only when we know it is safe and sustainable for us to do so.

“As, looks likely, pubs are some of the last businesses to reopen they will need even more and specific support, which will also be very dependent on any social distancing restrictions placed on us.

“Many of our pubs are very dependent on tourism and seasonality affects their profitability. Therefore, the timing for reopening will also impact the support required by pubs to best help them survive.”

His comments come as British Beer and Pub Association chief Emma McClarkin said “it is only right” the government gives the industry extra support – or face “thousands” of pubs and jobs to be lost.

Mr Attfield added the brewery is supporting pubs individually, including those operating takeaway services and the business maintains a strong balance sheet.

He said: “In the meantime, we have been developing a reopening plan for the whole business so that we can react quickly and appropriately to the Government’s plan on lifting the lockdown and loosening restrictions.

“We’ve always looked to being a sustainable business focused on the long-term and will continue to use these as guiding principles to steer Adnams through this crisis and best support our customers, pubs, teams and communities.”

Among the pubs running takeaway services in the county is The Greyhound in Ipswich, which has offered takeaway beer on certain days – using barrels to ensure social distancing measures are adhered to.

Greene King did not wish to comment on when pubs may reopen, but a company spokesman said it will adhere to government guidance.


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