Millions of pints of beer face being poured away ahead of England lockdown

Millions of pints could be wasted due to the lockdown Credit: PA

Pubs and breweries across the country could be forced to pour millions of pints down the drain as the lockdown for England looms.

From Thursday, pubs, bars and restaurants will be forced to close in England as the nation enters another lockdown in an attempt to combat a steep rise in coronavirus infections.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the lockdown on Saturday meaning many businesses already had significant amounts of stock which could not be easily disposed of.

The problem has been made worse by official guidance stating that serving alcohol to takeaway is not allowed, but food takeaway and delivery services are still permitted.

Breweries face an even tougher lockdown than the last one. Credit: PA

Britain's biggest pub chain Wetherspoons is offering pints of ale for 99p to try and clear out stocks by closing time on Wednesday.

The company recently announced its first-ever loss in over 30 years of business.

Approximately 70m pints of beer were thrown away during the first lockdown according to the British Beer and Pubs association.

They estimate only 7.5m will be wasted this time, but it will still incur a large loss for many small businesses.

The concern was also raised by the head of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, who warned businesses will be hit hard by the new lockdown measures and some of the government's measures were not evidence-based.

She said the decision to ban the sale of alcohol via a takeaway would mean "thousands of gallons of beer poured down drains."

Andrew Banner, manager at the Royal Hotel in Torquay said all their real ales would have to be wasted as "they won't last the month."

He said his pub had a relatively strong year despite the first lockdown and added they "weren't ready to close the doors just yet."

Josh Jepson, 29, co-director of the Blue Bee Brewery and landlord of the Kelham Island Tavern in Sheffield, said: "Cask beer only has a finite life span and selling it will stop it from going to waste and keep pubs and breweries going, allowing them to have some form of income.”

Mr Jepson said his brewery normally produces around 3,000 litres of cask beer each week – selling up to 80 nine-gallon casks to pubs – but sold just three last week.

Mark Newcombe, chairman of Craufurd Arms Society Ltd which runs the Craufurd Arms pub in Maidenhead, said the rules for this lockdown would limit the community spirit that supported the business in March and April.

Pubs will have to waste all of their ales that will not last the duration of the lockdown. Credit: PA

He said: “It means that all of our wet stock, particularly our real ales, will have to be drunk by Thursday or else we’ll have to throw them away – I don’t think the breweries are going to want them back."

Neil Walker, head of communications at the Society of Independent Brewers said it would be impossible to quantify the damage the lockdown would cause, but said "what we do know is that over the summer two independent breweries a week closed their doors for good."He said millions of pints of fresh beer faced being thrown away because it wouldn't last the duration of the lockdown.

He added sales at small breweries were down 82% during the first lockdown and expected things to be even tougher this time round.

"Come Christmas there is now serious doubt whether your local pub or the small independent brewery which supplies it will be there to celebrate with," Mr Walker said.Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British beer and pub association said the government needed to change its guidelines to prevent "pints being needlessly wasted."