A brewery owner has described the alcohol ban in Wales as “catastrophic” to the industry as he poured 325 casks of beer down the drains.
Richard Anstee, the managing director of Glamorgan Brewing Company which is based in Llantrisant said the company had no other choice but to dump the beer following the ban on alcohol in Welsh pubs.
The devastated businessman started to dispose of all casks which were set to be delivered to 600 Welsh pubs in time for December.
Hundreds of kegs were opened up with countless pints of beer sent spilling out onto the floor before heading down the drains.
Mr Anstee explained that the brewery began planning for Christmas back in August and that as a result of the Welsh Government’s announcement earlier this week, around “30,000 or 40,000 pints” would be poured away.
He said: “It’s catastrophic. It’s our busiest month of the year and it’s where we take all our money which will take us through the quieter months of January and February and it’s just going to kill every single Welsh brewer out there.
“We’ve planned for Christmas for the last three to four months. This isn’t something that we can turn off and on so by just having four days notice to shift hundreds and hundreds of kegs of beer, it’s just killed us.
“In pints there’s 15,000 pints in every container so we’ll probably get rid of 30,000 or 40,000 pints.
“We will try to sell some through our small brewery shop but we’ve planned and we’ve geared up for the month of December so we’ve got literally hundreds of kegs there ready for all the pubs in Wales that will most likely go down the drain because they’ve all got an expiry date coming.
“Last December we turned over £1.4 million. This year we’ll be lucky to take £50,000 in our shop so it’s monumental how much money we’ll lose.”
Pubs and bars have described the devastating impact the alcohol ban will have on their business, but the issue spans further up the supply chain.
Richard described the ban as “absolutely catastrophic” for the industry entering what usually would be the busiest month of trade throughout the whole year.
“When it comes to Christmas we start planning in September, we start brewing in October to November.
“One of our problems is, which is usually a good problem, we have one of the best selling Christmas beers in Wales. We have 325 casks of beer waiting to go out to pubs which won’t get used now.
“All this stock has expiry dates. We will lose hundreds of thousands of pounds on stock.
“We will just open the casks and pour it down the drain in our brewery.
“It has killed the trade on its best month of the year.”
Richard’s father started the brewery 26 years ago, and not only do they brew their own products, they also have the brewing contracts with Molson Coors, Heinekin and Budweiser.
The company has five lorries and 15 vans which are currently parked up. Richard said they will be there for the next month with nowhere to go.
They have also put most of their staff back on furlough.
G et more stories like this straight to your inbox by signing up to our newsletters.
“It is catastrophic, we did everything right, we supported the lockdown, the firebreak, then this came three weeks later with no data to show why it was the hospitality industry that needs these restrictions.”
One of the issues with the prep for pubs leading up to Christmas is once the beer is in a cask, it cannot be repurposed for other products.
Richard said he has spoken to supermarket suppliers this week who are planning on increasing alcohol orders by 25%, however this does not compensate for the stock lost that cannot be repurposed.
The brewery has a small shop on site and will try to repackage some into 2-4 pint bottles however it won’t be enough.
He explained that the financial blow will be staggering for the company, who also have their own pub which will be closing on Friday.
“Last year the December turnover was £1.4m, this year we will be lucky to turn over £50,000.
“It is catastrophic for the industry.
“We support everything they say, all the health measures but they are not showing us the evidence and data.
“What we are doing now is just a home delivery service. People can pick up the phone to us and order on the phone, we can’t do much else.”