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23rd August 2023

Pubs see significant World Cup final sales boost as licensing laws are shown to need change

The British Beer and Pub Association is calling for an amendment to the Licensing Act 2003 to reflect the need for blanket licensing changes during national moments like Sunday’s World Cup final, which despite national licensing difficulties, caused a double-digit revenue increase for pubs across the country. 

Despite England’s loss in the World Cup final, millions of people across England went to watch the match and experience the atmosphere of live sport at their local pub, with early indications from pub businesses across the country reporting trading increases of between 14% and 28%. 

These increases were achieved despite many pubs facing major restrictions on when they could serve alcohol at the start or even during the game, with many having to wait until the second half to be able to start serving a refreshing beer to their customers.  

It was clear from working with government last week in trying to achieve a blanket order allowing pubs to serve beer and other alcoholic drinks before the match started and their prescribed licensing hours that, when Parliament is not sitting, the Licensing Act 2003 is far too prescriptive in permitting urgent one-off measures to be taken. While it may not seem to be the most pressing of matters, the importance of greater legal flexibility that allows communities to come together in the nation’s pubs to celebrate key social and sporting events is vital for their long-term commercial sustainability. The uptick in sales, as football fans sought out their local pubs as the focal point to cheer on the Lionesses, is proof of that.  

The BBPA is very grateful to the Government for their efforts to achieve a legal derogation from the Act and for their encouragement to local authorities and police forces, many of whom themselves were supportive of their local pubs in allowing them to serve drinks earlier than their formal licensing hours. An amendment to the Act should be quick, easy and uncontroversial to achieve and we urge Government to table this measure and for parliamentarians of all parties to offer their support. 

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association said: 

“Despite the Lionesses not being able to claim victory on Sunday, they won the hearts of the nation and inspired the millions of people who cheered them on at the pub and elsewhere through their heroic performance in this tournament. It’s great that this success was able to give a boost to our pubs after a year where they’ve faced a range of challenges from unsustainably high energy bills to double-digit duty increases. 

“Despite the Government’s valuable work encouraging local authorities to support pubs on Sunday, we now need the law to reflect the reality that strict, prescriptive licensing cannot easily flex when key events are taking place while Parliament is not sitting.  The Licensing Act is an important piece of legislation, but it was never intended be so inflexible as to stand in the way of communities coming together and enjoy a beer and celebrate one-off events of national interest.  MPs know the pubs are the focal points of their local communities so let’s work together to get an amendment quickly agreed.” 


For more information or to arrange an interview contact / 020 7627 9199

Notes to editors:    

Early feedback from BBPA member companies operating hundreds of pubs across different parts of the UK reported sales increases of between 14% and 28% on Sunday on a like-for-like basis.

About the British Beer & Pub Association      
The BBPA represents businesses which between them brew over 90% of the beer sold in the UK and own 20,000 pubs.    

Our members include international companies, national and local brewers and pub businesses operating managed and tenanted pubs in cities, towns and villages across the country.     

These businesses are at the heart of communities and local economies and include family businesses who have been brewing beer and running pubs for hundreds of years alongside emerging brewers and pub operators.     

·       The UK’s beer and pub industry supports close to 940,000 jobs   

·       The industry adds £26.2billion to the UK’s economy each year   


For more information or to arrange an interview contact / 020 7627 9199

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