Dear friends of St Austell Brewery,
On behalf of the entire team at St Austell Brewery I would like to thank everybody who has bought one of our beers or visited our pubs and hotels since we reopened on 4th July. Your support during these unprecedented times has been hugely important and meant a great deal to us all.
I’m enormously grateful for the support of our wonderful teams across the business, and our tenants and their teams, all of whom have worked tirelessly to adapt how we operate in line with changing government regulations. They’ve kept our pubs, inns and hotels safe and regulated, while continuing to provide the same warm welcome and great hospitality. Our production teams worked around the clock to keep our bottled beers on supermarket shelves during lockdown and restock our customers with fresh cask beer ready for reopening. With every day that goes by, I become more impressed at the calibre and commitment of our people in these extremely challenging times and I am incredibly proud to lead such a dedicated and passionate team.
Of course, we are all devastated to have to close our pubs once again today – due to a second national lockdown in England - but we recognise the seriousness of the situation and the reason for the government’s decision. Our absolute priority remains taking care of our teams, our tenants and our customers and providing as much support as we can during this second lockdown and beyond. Our immediate focus is to safely close our 180 pubs across the West Country ahead of the 10pm closure later today.
Our plans from here until the 2nd December are as follows;
- Tomorrow morning, we will be delivering perishable goods from all of our managed houses to local food banks to ensure that nothing is wasted and goes to those who need it the most. We will look to find other ways to continue supporting our local communities throughout the lockdown period.
- Our production teams at St Austell Brewery and Bath Ales will continue to brew and bottle our beers, which will be available from our online shop and supermarkets across the UK throughout lockdown.
- In the weeks ahead we will be doing all we can to support our tenants. We have been building on these trusted and supportive relationships for 169 years and will continue to do all we can to help them navigate this latest challenge. We have already waived commercial rent until December 2nd and our tenanted operations teams will be available to provide guidance on the government schemes and grants available.
- With support from the government’s furlough scheme – which we’re grateful has been extended until December – we have asked our pub teams, and a large proportion of our operational teams, to temporarily step aside from their roles until pubs reopen. They will all continue to receive 80% of their salary until we’re able to welcome them back again and we will keep this under weekly review until normal trading can resume. It’s crucial that our teams remain connected to our business and their colleagues during this time. As such we will work hard to maintain regular communication and engagement, reinforcing the fact that we remain stronger together despite us having to be apart once again.
- We’ll continue to lobby the government for further support for the hospitality industry. We desperately need a longer-term support plan that reaches far beyond this lockdown period. This support should include grants for all pubs and confirmation that business rates holiday and VAT cuts for our sector will continue well beyond the end of March.
While we are hugely disappointed to be closing our pubs once again tonight, I remain hopeful for the future. These are incredibly hard times for hospitality, but pubs are vitally important to so many of us as part of the fabric of what makes our industry wonderful. Pubs bring people together in good times and bad and provide so much more than just great beer and food. Pubs play a vital role in bringing local communities, friends and families together.
We’ve received truly humbling support over the summer months and while this winter will be very tough, we’re confident that we will recover brilliantly.
Stay safe and see you soon. We can’t wait to welcome you back again.
Chief Executive, St Austell Brewery