50 million pints set to go to waste in UK pubs during lockdown

Fifty million pints of beer could go to waste in the UK’s pubs during lockdown, figures suggest.

Monday, 13th April 2020, 2:01 pm
Updated Monday, 13th April 2020, 2:03 pm

With all of Britain’s bars closed under the coronavirus shutdown, barrels in the nation’s pub cellars are currently gathering dust.

And if the shutdown continues into the summer, a whopping 50 million pints of beer, lager and cider could go to waste.

"It's a very sad waste of all the work and talent that goes into producing great beer," said Tom Stainer, chief executive of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra). "People won't get to drink it and all those resources have been used up for nothing."

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Millions of pints of beer are set to go to waste.
Millions of pints of beer are set to go to waste.

Mr Stainer estimates the UK's 39,000 pubs have, on average, 15 barrels in their cellar at any given time. Most are kegs containing 11 gallons (88 pints) each - although many real ales come in nine-gallon (72-pint) casks. The best-before dates on pasteurised beer - including most lagers - are usually three to four months after delivery.

Those for real ales and other unpasteurised beer are usually set at six to nine weeks.

It means that if social distancing measures remain in place, a lot of beer could have to be thrown away.

Some bars are now offering takeaway booze – while supermarkets have seen a huge surge in sales of alcohol since the start of lockdown.

"Pubs are at the heart of our communities and an important part of local economies," says a spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

“We are also delivering support to help businesses, including pubs, through the coronavirus pandemic."