Editor's PickForexBrewdog to shut six bars as its CEO launches scathing attack on ‘zombie government’

September 1, 2022

Pub chain BrewDog will close six outlets across the UK as its CEO launched a scathing attack on the “zombie government’s” lack of support for the industry amid soaring energy costs.

Its CEO and founder James Watt shared the news on a heartfelt LinkedIn post, in which he appealed to Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak to “stop the charade” of not giving help to small firms.

According to MyLondon, three London bars which will close are Smithfield Market Arms in Farringdon, Brewdog Dalston, and Brewdog Old Street. Three other outlets which are set to shut are the Hop and Anchor in Aberdeen, the Hop Hub in Motherwell, and a bar in Peterhead.

This comes after pubs and brewers across the UK warned they are at risk of closure within months amid price hikes upwards of 300 per cent.

Two weeks ago, BrewDog opened its biggest branch in Waterloo, which allows all its 200 staff to receive half the profits it generates. Watt said it “exceeded even our ambitious expectations with over 20,000 visitors in the first 2 weeks alone”, but its success shouldn’t “blind us all to the reality we as a sector are facing”.

He added it should also not distract the industry from the “sheer ‘rabbit in the headlights’ paralysis of this zombie government, still intent on this bizarre leadership farce, instead of getting to grips with the kind of challenges that will result in more business causalities than the pandemic did.”

With fears over mass closures and an existential threat faced by the hospitality sector over soaring energy bills, he confirmed six bars will be shut across the UK.

The “heart-breaking’ announcement came after Watt warned that “costs are rising to such a degree, with no prospect of any help from a clueless government, that these very difficult decisions have to be made”.

Watt said in the current climate it would be “simply impossible to get these bars even close to financial viability” and the firm therefore had “no choice” but to let them close.

BrewDog will offer all staff who have been let go a role in a separate bar, but he added “reality in the hospitality space is starting to bite and bite hard. And the government needs to get a grip, now.”

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