Drinkers warning

£27.50 a pint if BrewDog passed on energy costs

James Watt say the Chancellor must act to save pubs

BrewDog co-founder and CEO James Watt says drinkers would pay £27.50 for a pint of beer if the company raised prices in line with soaring energy bills.

The brewery and pubs boss said businesses are facing “crippling” costs and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt “will make the situation worse” when he rows back support for business energy bills from April.”

Taking to social media, Mr Watt asked: “Would you like to pay £27.50 for a pint of Punk IPA? Nope, I didn’t think so. But that’s how much you’d be paying in BrewDog York, for example, if we’d put up prices in line with our soaring energy bills.”

He added that passing on the hike in costs would also see customers fork out £48.75 for a burger and fries.

He said:” “We’re only in the foothills of a crisis which poses a far bigger threat to companies than C-19.

“The sad reality is that there are many great businesses that simply will not survive 2023.

“This climate is incredibly challenging for BrewDog. Fortunately, we have the scale and backing to survive. Many smaller businesses aren’t so lucky.

“The Government threw the kitchen sink at Covid but unless it acts quickly tens of thousands of businesses vital to employment and our economy will wither and die. People inside government know this. Not all of them are career politicians who’ve never done a day’s work in the ‘real world’ of business.

“This government has no plan, no ambition. People talk about a lack of industrial strategy. It’s far worse than that. There is no strategy full stop.

“Why would anyone start a business in the UK today? I’ve seen more breweries, bars and restaurants than I can name go out of business in the past few months and that trend is only going to accelerate.”

Mr Watt suggested five things he would do “if I were currently in government”, saying he would make a start by cutting business rates in half for a year,” or better still scrap them altogether. Business rates are antiquated, and we need a review anyway.”

He says National Insurance needs to be cut further still, calling the employer’s contribution in particular a tax on hiring and growth.

He wants a VAT holiday for hospitality for a year and state-backed loans to protect the smallest businesses.

He urges the government to “get a grip on strikes” by cutting a deal rather than trying to ban strikes.

“The knock effect on hospitality from the rail walkouts came at exactly the wrong time. The strikes in December alone cost our business over £1m.”

He adds that if this means spending more money to support business through this nightmare now, it would be better than spending it on unemployment benefits if thousands of businesses go under.

“Without more help, we’re sleep-walking towards utter disaster for the tens of thousands of businesses in the UK,” said Mr Watt.

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