Operations & Events Manager
The WSTA is calling on people up and down the country to support their local on St. George’s Day this Friday and raise a glass to hard working staff in England’s pubs, bars and restaurants.
Forced to close for much of the last 12 months, and only permitted to re-open under strict conditions, pubs, bars and restaurants across England are opening for the first time in 2021 and welcoming back drinkers outside their venues.
It came as a huge blow to the hospitality sector when gearing up for the Christmas trading period, the busiest time of the year, that venues were told they would once again have to close. The losses of missing out on the crucial revenue that the holiday festivities provided were devastating.
Latest figures from the WSTA’s soon-to-be-released Market Report show that over the last 12 months, to December 2020, sales of both still wine and spirits in the on-trade are down 60% in volume terms on 2019, pre-pandemic levels.
The phenomenal growth of gin over the last five years, in the on-trade, has been halted in its tracks – sales were down to £675 million throughout 2020, which is a staggering drop of over £1 billion.
Rum, billed as the next spirit with the potential to ‘do a gin’, saw sales cut in half, whilst sales of sparkling wines and Champagne were down around £650 million.
These numbers ultimately mean less money in the pockets of pub, bar and restaurant businesses, and those that supply into the hospitality sector, limiting their ability to recover from a torrid 12 months for the sector.
The WSTA has said that there is no better way to show support to all the hard-working publicans, restauranteurs and staff employed throughout the hospitality sector than by taking this St. George’s Day as an opportunity to safely toast the sector’s resilience.
Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said:
“The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns on pubs, bars and restaurants is laid bare in the latest numbers – showing that sales are drastically down on 2019 levels.
“The hospitality sector is a vital shop-window for our innovative wine and spirit SMEs, who have been particularly hard hit during the pandemic. The resilience of the SME sector is also something worth supporting.
“This St. George’s Day provides the perfect opportunity for people to book a table at their local pub, to their favourite local restaurant or bar, and raise a glass to all those across the hospitality sector – including those businesses that supply into the sector. Many of them are SMEs and have had to survive the last 12 months without the full suite of government support afforded to pubs, bars and restaurants.
“The people behind the scenes in the hospitality sector have worked incredibly hard to make their venues Covid-secure for the public to return. We will be toasting not only our great hospitality sector’s resilience and fight, but also to the future rebuilding, growth and success of a vital sector of our economy and an integral part of Britain’s world-leading wine and spirit industry.”