Report by Julia Barthram
The Three Brothers Brewing Company has been producing beer from its base in Stockton on Tees for five years. It did produce 98% of its beer for pubs and outdoor catering but has adapted to sell to individuals during lockdown.
Pubs should be able to open outdoor areas for groups of up to six on April 12th and indoors from May 17th but the Prime Minister has warned those dates may change.
Many of the pubs the brewery supplies are small and with limited outdoor areas.
The British Beer & Pub Association, which represents brewers and pubs, says it believes 29,000 pubs – 60% of all pubs in the UK – will remain closed if outdoor service only is permitted at pubs from April.
The trade association says the majority of pubs in the UK do not have a big enough garden or outdoor space to re-open and serve customers without opening indoors too.
Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “If pubs do open outdoors only in April – we believe just 17% of UK pub capacity will actually open.
“Even if some pubs did try and open outdoors only in April, all it would take is some heavy rain and they would find it has all been for nothing."
Matt Speight owns Lucifers, Stockton's smallest pub, he says to open with restrictions wouldn't bring in enough people to make his business viable.
"This business does not work under restrictions, the business model is you ram twenty people in and you're sat on top of each other and sat on each others knee and it's a real friendly place where everybody knows everybody. Under two, or four or six, as I think was my maximum just before the last lockdown, it's not viable at all. "
The BBPA is urging the Government to fully open pubs at the same time as non essential retail.