Pub closures because of the national UK lockdowns mean that approximately 87 million pints of beer will be wasted.
The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), which made the calculation, said the ‘heartbreaking’ waste is equivalent to £331 million in sales.
Most of this figure comes from the first lockdown, under which 70 million pints of beer were thrown away.
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of BBPA, has called not the government to give pub owners more help and extend the VAT cut for the hospitality sector.
The rate currently sits at 5%, down from the usual 20%. The BBPA is urging the government to keep this in place once pubs are allowed to reopen, arguing that venues have not been able to benefit from this during the lockdown.
‘Pubs and breweries are effectively having to pour their businesses down the drain,’ she told BBC News.
Following the first lockdown, pub owners were more aware of the risk of wastage so many bought less stock in the following months.
When further restrictions were imposed last autumn, seven million pints were wasted. Another 10 million are expected to be thrown away during the current lockdown.
In the UK, barrelled beer which is not sold by its best-before date must be returned to breweries and disposed of. For pasteurised beers, including most lagers, this is approximately three to four months. The time frame is much shorter for real ales, at around six to nine weeks.
Since the start of the pandemic, 39,000 pubs have either closed or are struggling to stay in business, the BBPA said.
The UK treasury has said keeping businesses going is its ‘priority’.
‘At the upcoming Budget we’ll outline the next stages of our plan for jobs to support businesses and families across the UK. That has been our priority throughout the past year and it will be the priority for the year to come,’ the treasury said in a statement.
The Budget will be published on March 3.
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