Pubs in the News & Mail area bring around £200 million to the local economy each year, according to a study.
A report commissioned by The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), which looked at the performance of the beer industry during 2012, showed that landlords, brewers, bar staff and beer drinkers were a significant contributor to the economic performance of the area.
Measuring the contribution of a single producer, the gross value added (GVA) figure of pubs and breweries in Rushmoor, Hart and Surrey Heath was £84.3m in 2012.
When the boroughs of Guildford, Waverley and Bracknell Forest are added, the grand total of GVA in the area comes to £212.2m.
According to the Oxford Economics data, there are five breweries and 490 pubs across the six local authorities.
The UK as a whole benefits from the pub and brewery trade to the tune of almost £22bn, with £12bn worth of tax generated. Pubs and breweries were also shown to provide employment for nearly a million people in the UK.
Hart’s beer and pub sector employs 1,318 people, while Rushmoor and Surrey Heath each contain just over a thousand jobs.
Pub closures have become common across the country, with many local watering holes being turned into supermarkets. The Heron Hotel in Lower Farnham Road , Aldershot, became a Co-operative last summer, the Prince of Wales pub in Ash Road, Aldershot, is set to open as a Sainsbury’s Local and the Queen’s Head in London Road, Blackwater was turned into a Tesco Express in 2012.
In light of the findings of its study, the BBPA has called for a freeze in beer duty tax in the upcoming budget to help the industry prosper.
Last March, a planned three pence rise in beer duty was scrapped and instead cut by a penny however, annual increases in the years before that had seen the tax rise by 42% since 2008.
BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds OBE said: “Beer and pubs provide huge numbers of local jobs, especially for young people.
“Last year’s duty cut made a real difference, saving jobs across the country, boosting investment and increasing confidence.
“Yet, so much of this good work will be undone if beer duty rises again.”
Paul Cowper, chairman of the Hampshire-Surrey border branch of CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale), said that despite the contribution of the beer trade, around 26 pubs were closing every week in the UK. By contrast, the increase in popularity of micro-breweries has meant the number of breweries is increasing.
He said the two trends meant breweries were fighting over a smaller share of the market, and that continued pub closures, or a tax increase, would have a knock-on effect.
“CAMRA totally agrees that beer duty should be frozen for another year,” he said. “Any additional cost has an additional effect and causes people not to buy so much, which has an effect on the economy.
“When you see most pubs are probably employing 10 people on average, every time one closes that’s a substantial amount lost to the economy.”
Chris Quintana, business development manager for north east Hampshire, said the GVA of pubs was only a small portion of the overall GVA within local enterprise partnership Enterprise M3 – which covers the area from the New Forest up to Woking – which is around £38bn.
However, he said the pub industry had a lot to offer in the future as it continues to adapt to changing demands from customers and economic pressures.