Pub will 'keep candles burning' this winter due to energy price rise

31 August 2022 by
Pub will 'keep candles burning' this winter due to energy price rise

A Cumbrian pub is to cut down on using radiators and "keep candles burning" this winter due to a rise in energy costs.

Ye Olde Fleece Inn in Kendal currently pays £44,000 for its annual electricity bill, but last week was quoted a figure of £124,000 for the 12 months from Christmas.

Chris Moss, a director of Westmorland Hospitality, which runs the pub, as well as the Duke of Cumberland and the Gateway Inn in the town, said he was "absolutely horrified" by the increase.

The pub team is looking at how it could reduce its energy usage following the £80,000 rise.

"In the kitchen we shall look at stopping some of the intense energy processes, such as using the salamander [grill]," said Moss. "We shall look at the energy which goes into cooking every dish, but this will only make a small difference.

"In the cellar we shall also look at how we cool our beer – but you have to keep beer cool. We'll use our log fires much more, instead of the radiators, and we'll keep candles burning."

He added: "People say just close for the winter but this is long-term problem."

Ye Olde Fleece Inn features a fully waited-on restaurant, a gastropub and bar area seating 80 people, a lounge, meeting and conference facilities and a function room. Several community groups meet at the inn.

Westmorland Hospitality is still waiting to hear what it will have to pay in electricity charges at its other two inns and what the gas charges will be for all three sites.

Moss said staff at the Fleece Inn were "absolutely stressed out" and "worried about their jobs" but pledged that the company would do what it could to keep the pub open.

"The traditional pub is where people used to go to keep warm during the winter. We shall do what we can and we are also asking the community for their support to help us to keep our doors open because without our loyal regulars it no longer becomes viable."

He warned rising energy prices posed a risk to the future of the whole UK hospitality sector and said that without government support high streets could become "ghost towns" due to business closures.

It comes after a flash survey from the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) found 90% of respondents who had been quoted for new energy contracts had seen their prices at least double, while two in three were seeing price rises of over 300%.

The impact meant half of pubs which responded would be loss making, while one in three said their business would close in the next three months.

Steve Alton, chief executive of the BII, said: "Without support, the alternative is simply unthinkable. The impact on the economy will be enormous, but the long-term damage to our unique heritage and the social fabric of our nation will be devastating."

Trade body UKHospitality has written to the government warning the sector faces "widespread business failure" with tens of thousands of job losses unless the government steps in to tackle energy costs.

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