SIBA have joined a coalition of industry partners including the British Beer and Pub Association, British Institute of Innkeeping, the Campaign for Real Ale, the Independent Family Brewers of Britain and UKHospitality to launch the #PubsMatter campaign to remind politicians and the media just how important pubs are to local communities across the UK.
“Pubs and beer are intrinsically linked and SIBA are fully backing the cross-industry call on Government to relax restrictions on pubs. The Government’s own Chief Scientific Advisor has admitted the evidence to justify hospitality curfew’s doesn’t exist, and that pubs being targeted was a ‘policy decision’. The industry has proven it can trade safely and conscientiously during this difficult time and to impose further lockdowns during the crucial Christmas periods will not only be disastrous for our pubs industry, but for the independent breweries who supply them – with independent brewers seeing their overall sales drop by 80% when pubs are closed.” James Calder, SIBA Chief Executive
Pub-goers across the UK are flooding social media and MPs’ inboxes with messages about why their pubs matter this Christmas, as the UK prepares for a very different festive season.
Even though over 85%of Brits have said that the pub is an important – or very important – part of their Christmas celebration, many valued locals are facing forced closure or severe restrictions at what should be their busiest time of the year.
The Pubs Matter campaign puts a spotlight on pubs, tap rooms, social clubs and hospitality venues that are at the centre of their communities. These venues have been disproportionately hit by recent restrictions and lockdown measures despite the important role that they play in looking after their regulars, providing local amenities, raising money for charities, and tackling loneliness and social isolation.
Anyone who loves their local is encouraged to share why #PubsMatter to them on social media and contact their MP, using resources available at whypubsmatter.org.uk
Thousands of pub-goers have already taken part, sharing testimonials such as:
“As I’ve gotten older and have lost many dear friends, it is heart-warming to see their spouses come to the pub on Christmas Day lunchtime. It is a chance to see old friends, exchange memories, re-tell old stories and shed tears. Without the local pub, these long-lasting friendships would never have been forged.” – David Davies, 71, West Lancashire
“This blasted COVID lockdown has achieved what the Grinch, Ebeneezer Scrooge, Miracle of 34th Street’s Jack Duff and a million more miserable gits have tried and failed to do – and robbed us of Christmas. The festivities just won’t be the same this year for me without meeting up with relatives, friends and neighbours on Christmas Eve and carousing over a few pints of good ale in the Queen’s Head, my local boozer, while the landlord plays on his organ. The Government needs to throw the licensed trade a lifeline before it is too late and our way of life changes forever.” - Charlie Garth, 69, Ampthill, Bedfordshire
“At Christmas time, family, friends, work colleagues, and people you have not seen all year will make an effort to meet up for the all-important Christmas drink – a most important excuse in all our lives, to dress up and go out. As we get older, we look forward to doing that one important thing even more.” - Linda Harris, Wirral
“My local pub to me is like Alice in Wonderland going down the rabbit’s hole. I can take refuge in an alternate universe where good beer, good company and pleasant surroundings allows me to escape the pressures of life.” – Charles Tucker, Beckenham
A spokesperson for the campaign said: “There has never been a more important time to send a clear message to politicians and the media that pubs matter.
“Despite the fact that many publicans have spent thousands ensuring their pubs are COVID-secure, hundreds are still unable to reopen under the current guidelines. This is not only hurting local businesses, but also the wellbeing of the people using them. Pubs need fair treatment and better financial support to get through the festive period.”
To find out more and take part, visit whypubsmatter.org.uk and regularly check the @CAMRA_Official Twitter feed from 13-16 December for updates and testimonials.