Keep going to pubs during dry January, UK hotel bosses urge | Hotel industry

Hotel bosses have urged consumers not to desert their local pub during “dry January”, the month when many people refrain from drinking alcohol, as hard-hit places struggle to recovering from a nightmarish Christmas.

Revenue from crucial holiday weeks fell by up to 60% from the same period in 2019, making it the second year in a row that pubs, bars and restaurants have lost during the most lucrative time of the year .

The crisis means sites have failed to build up the cash reserves they need to survive the generally calm January and February, putting pressure on an industry already reeling from pandemic-related losses and the crisis. increase in rent debts.

Several hospitality industry figures told The Guardian that pubs would face even greater financial difficulties unless people continue to visit them in January, the annual month when some people choose to quit drinking.

Kate Nicholls, Managing Director of UK Hospitality Business Organization, said: “I think we could definitely do without it. [dry January]. “

She called on people who are trying to avoid alcohol to consider choosing something else at the bar or going out to eat.

“This year there are many more non-alcoholic options available that are of very good quality, so there is no excuse not to go out and support your local hotel business.”

Greg Mulholland, Director of Campaign for Pubs, said: “Pubs and publicans will need support throughout the month of January and we urge people to keep going to the pub.

“Pubs are more than just a drink, so we hope people recognize the important role pubs play in our communities and come out and support them, whatever they choose to eat and drink.”

He also highlighted the improvement in the availability of alcohol-free options in the UK pub network, the number of which has declined in recent years and currently stands at around 47,000.

Concerns over alcohol use increased during the pandemic, following a report from Public Health England which detailed an increase in alcohol-related deaths associated with successive lockdowns.

However, the report found that the biggest increase in alcohol sales came from people drinking at home during closures that forced hospitality places to close.

Paul Crossman, who runs three pubs in York, including The Swan, said it was always possible for people to order at the bar without compromising their health goals.

“It would be great if people gave up on a dry January, but a lot of us have some really good non-alcoholic options as well. It’s about supporting local hotel businesses so that they can get by, ”he said.

Pub group Fuller’s was forced to shut down several locations earlier this month due to slow trading, in part because its portfolio of more than 380 pubs and hostels is geared towards London, where cases of the variant Omicron Covid have skyrocketed and work- home guidance has left parts of the city deserted.

Fuller’s chief executive Simon Emeny said he hoped there would be “huge pent-up demand” after people sacrificed pre-Christmas evenings to make sure they could still see their families .

He pointed out that while the dry January targets, promoted by Alcohol Change UK, are laudable, opinions differ as to whether this is the right approach to tackle abuse.

“Medical evidence says drinking in moderation is more reasonable than abstaining for a whole month,” Emeny said.

“I think having been deprived of the opportunity to mingle and socialize, a lot of people will say they will make up for lost time and be more sociable in January.”

While many pubs fear a slowdown in January, in part because people are choosing not to drink, Peter Marks, who runs the UK’s largest bar and nightclub business, Rekom UK, said the young people were less likely to abstain.

“It will take them a few weekends for their wallet to recover from Christmas and New Years, but as long as the students come back in that third week of January, we don’t see any effect from the dry month of January,” a- he declared.

About Michael Brafford

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