The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has said beer sales could be as much as 90% lower than normal due to the impact of tier restrictions this Christmas, with 270 million fewer pints being served in pubs.
The finding is from data the trade association has analysed from its beer sales volume survey, which it has conducted monthly for the last 20 years. The analysis revealed that typically during the month of December, including Christmas, pubs sell almost 300 million pints of beer.
However, this December, based on data gathered so far under the new tighter tier system, which have kept most pubs closed and the rest open but only able to serve alcohol with a substantial meal, as few as 30 million pints of beer are forecast to be sold in pubs this month.
The trade association said the forecast showed the extreme impact the tier system is having on the viability of pubs and breweries this Christmas. It has calculated that the lower pint sales in December would result in as much as £935m in turnover being wiped out from the pub and brewing sector this month in beer sales alone.
It is calling on the government to review and reduce the tier restrictions pubs face or provide them with the grant support they need to survive the winter and ensure they remain able to reopen properly in 2021.
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: "These stark numbers show that this Christmas could be the last for many of our pubs. With trade up to 90% lower than usual, many pubs simply won't survive without government either easing the restrictions or providing more support for pubs and brewers.
"The one-off payment for pubs of £1,000 doesn't come anywhere close to compensating for up to 270 million lost pint sales or almost £1b hit to their turnover. Currently, in England, there is no compensation available for our hard-hit breweries unlike in Wales and Scotland, where it has at least been recognised that they too are suffering as a result of these tighter restrictions being placed on the whole hospitality sector.
"The saddest thing of all is that our pubs should be properly open this Christmas. Christmas isn't the same without a pint at the local with friends and family. These 270 million lost pints reflect 270 million lost opportunities for friends, families and communities to be together enjoying their local pub this Christmas. A key part of the Christmas spirit is going to be lost this year with so many pubs closed."