24 Sept 2022

As pubs warn of mass closures as energy bills soar – how can you support your local if money is tight?

As pubs warn of mass closures as energy bills soar – how can you support your local if money is tight?

Imagine a world without local pubs? This could happen – some of the country’s favourite pubs and breweries have warned they’re at risk of closure within months.

Amid price hikes upwards of 300%, Greene King, JW Lees, Carlsberg Marston’s, Admiral Taverns, Drake & Morgan and St Austell Brewery all expressed concern, signing an open letter to the government and calling for action.

Not only could we lose our favourite drinking spots, but pubs are often a real hub of the community.

As Tom Stainer, chief executive of Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), says: “Pubs are one of the only proper local spaces to gather in, as we have seen the decline of community hubs. [They allow you to] meet people from where you live, they help to combat loneliness and isolation, and pubs generally do a lot of work for local charities and grassroots sports teams.”

There’s a wider impact on the local economy too. “Pubs provide local employment and a lot of it, often supporting younger people with their career development and training,” adds Stainer.

Want to support your local, but unsure how to do it when money is tight for all of us right now? Here’s Stainer’s advice…

Add pub trips into your routine

One of the main issues businesses of all kinds are facing right now is the unpredictability of income. So, becoming a regular at your local and showing your face often, even if only for an hour or so, could really help make a difference.

“Build pub trips into what you regularly do. A weekly or monthly visit shows them they have guaranteed income,” says Stainer.

And this doesn’t necessarily mean spending a lot, or drinking more alcohol. As Stainer notes: “Pubs don’t just offer beer. If you don’t drink, they offer great soft drinks and coffee.”

He points out you could even “treat them like a café now”, as so many pubs have shifted their offering in accordance to local needs. Instead of suggesting a chain coffee shop for a meeting or quick catch up with a friend, why not get coffee at your local pub?

Eat and drink local

Pubs might have lots of different food and drinks options available, but some could be more beneficial than others when it comes to supporting them.

“Drink locally brewed stuff, because local drinks bring money into the local economy, and they get better margins for the pubs,” says Stainer. Pubs will often have a a close relationship with local suppliers and get better rates.

Keep an eye out for deals they’re doing on different nights too – you could even end up saving some cash.

“Pubs that serve food and snacks often have excellent offers on and you may sometimes be able to get better value than if you cooked at home,” says Stainer.

Check out events pubs have to offer

If you love seeing a live performance, or getting out of the house to socialise or take part in activities, pubs could be the answer – especially as other things become more expensive.

“Go along to quizzes, live music and comedy at local pubs and use that as a chance to get out and about,” says Stainer. “Sign up to any email lists and social media of your locals to get the best deals, and then reshare those with your friends and family.”

Share positive reviews

On that note, helping spread the word for local businesses can be really helpful.

“Social media and online reviews are vital for pubs. If people don’t know you have something on, they don’t know they have that option,” says Stainer. “The more these things are shared, the better.”

Reviews can really make a difference too, so if you have had a great experience, shout about it.

Spread the word

Some people may not be aware that an independent pub needs support, so chat to people about your favourite pub at the school gates, in the gym, or on a dog walk.

“Tell people about great local pubs online or by word of mouth,” says Stainer. “It gets more people spending in them and supporting them.”

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