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BrewDog bookings come to a head

Scotland-based brewery and pub chain BrewDog is revelling in the news that the UK’s national lockdown is set to come to an end this summer.

The company reported it has had its busiest day for bookings on record after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the easing of restrictions in the coming months.

Beer gardens are set to open to the public from the 12th of April and all coronavirus restrictions are poised to wrap up in June, although the government has stressed that these dates are provisional and dependent on the rate of infection tailing off.

“Tens of thousands” of eager customers have already booked tables at BrewDog sites across the UK, according to a post published on LinkedIn by the brand’s CEO and co-founder, James Watt.

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BrewDog have not been the only ones to see a surge in bookings following Johnson’s announcement, with the Inn Collection Group – which has 15 venues across the north – revealing it had seen a “300 per cent spike in bookings” over the last fortnight.

“There’s no doubt there’s a massive pent-up enthusiasm,” Christian Burns, owner of six pubs in Bishop Auckland, told The Independent over the weekend. “People have seen enough of their back gardens or kitchen tables and they want to get out. If the weather’s good, for those pubs with outdoor facilities it could be an astounding April”.

Last month, brewery bosses and landlords told the Evening Standard that they were ‘in a battle to save the Great British pub’. Bars and drinking establishments have been especially hard hit by the pandemic, with lockdown restrictions all but wiping out business, but the government’s promise of outdoor dining is not enough for some.

Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), Emma McClarkin, has already warned that as many as 29,000 pubs will not be able to welcome customers because they simply do not have a beer garden or outdoor space to accommodate them.

“If pubs do open outdoors only in April – we believe just 17% of UK pub capacity will actually open. This would result in a loss of turnover to the sector of £1.5 billion when compared to trading in normal times. That is far from reopening and recovering”.

The BBPA acknowledged that 75% of UK pubs reportedly have a beer garden or outdoor space, but said that it found just 40% of those were likely to have outdoor space adequately large enough to operate a socially-distanced service. 

It also added that even larger beer gardens could “struggle to break even, as they would still have vastly reduced capacity and significant practical challenges”.

BrewDog has excelled in popularity in recent years with its vast offering of craft ales and funky product designs. The brand’s famous Punk IPA is the #1 craft beer in the UK.

It was also the first company to join Crowdcube’s exclusive Unicorn Club, with a pre-money valuation sitting at £1.8bn, and is currently being touted for an IPO on the London Stock Exchange at some point this year.

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