Nick Mackenzie, the head of the Greene King pub chain, said one location it works with reported that energy costs had gone up by £33,000 ($38,744) a year.
“While the government has introduced measures to help households cope with this spike in prices, businesses are having to face this alone, and it is only going to get worse come the autumn,” Mackenzie said.
Some pubs were being quoted increases of more than 400% in the price of one-year gas supply contracts, while others were finding it impossible to secure contracts at all, said Kevin Georgel, CEO of St Austell Brewery.
“The cost of energy threatens to cause mass business failure and the loss of thousands of pubs across the country,” he added.
“The response will need to match the scale of the crisis we have before us,” he said.
That’s stoking alarm about eye-watering costs for households into next year. But businesses say they’re not getting enough help either, emphasizing that the crisis will leave many on life support.
“Small businesses are left out in the cold when it comes to energy bills, with the vast majority excluded from the household energy price cap and other protections designed for domestic household consumers,” Martin McTague, who heads up the Federation of Small Businesses, said in a statement last week.
“Unlike large corporates, small firms cannot hedge costs and negotiate deals with their large energy suppliers. Many of our members say the eye-watering energy bills could be the final nail in the coffin as they struggle to get through winter,” he continued.
Now, business conditions are deteriorating again.
“The UK’s brewing industry is facing a crisis far graver than that which we faced during the Covid lockdowns of the past few years,” said Paul Davies, the CEO of British brewer Carlsberg Marstons.
There were 39,973 pubs in England and Wales as of June, the lowest level on record and a decline of more than 7,000 locations since 2012, according to an analysis by the Altus Group.
The real estate consultancy said that while pubs proved “remarkably resilient” during the pandemic, despite deep uncertainty, the energy crisis and inflation are creating “new headwinds.”