COVID Pub Reopening: The Unsung Role of the Water Industry

The trade body Water UK is working alongside the British Beer & Pub Association to remind landlords to contact their respective water wholesalers regarding the disposal of waste beer.


This announcement works in favour of licensees who are reopening pubs after months of closure due to the COVID-19 induced lockdown. The coordination between the sector’s organisations will allow landlords to dispose of unsaleable beer properly while also lowering costs and simplifying the process of doing so.


Efficient waste disposal


The Water UK has devised the proper solution for pubs that have accumulated unsaleable beer throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. With such establishments on hibernation following the shutdown, beer has become stale on casks and kegs, which means that landlords need to find a way to dispose of or repurpose the spoils.


The trade body partnered with the British Beer & Pub Association to provide access to more efficient waste beer management for licensees, paving the way for the appropriate disposal of spoilt beer.


The said organisations are urging landlords to contact their water wholesalers to learn about the proper disposal applications. Water companies are involved in the said scheme, cutting lengthy bureaucratic processes and waiving fees.


This offer comes in light of the re-opening of pubs months after the economic shutdown. The majority of the cases include the build-up of unsaleable beer that needs to be safely disposed to minimise environmental and health hazards.


Landlords are encouraged to contact their water company before disposing of spoilt beer into sewers. It is vital since a few water companies can’t help their customers due to environmental or operational circumstances.


Word from the policy adviser


Alice Carrington-Windo, a policy adviser for Water UK, expressed her involvement with the latest policy, stating that she has been putting the focus on beer disposal in the past weeks. As pubs re-open, so is the industry challenged by unsaleable products that cannot be returned to suppliers.


The imposed social distancing would likely make matters more complicated as landlords work to recover barrels and casks.


Carrington-Windo cited that it would be more eco-friendly to find other purposes for the spoilt beer, such as using as animal feed additive or gas production for home heating. However, several pubs don’t have access to these options, which means that disposing of the beer to accommodate new stocks is the only way.

Draining products, although wasteful, could be the only solution for many pubs—but it’s not as simple as pouring the beer. Water companies are in charge of sewers and are also tasked to protect the environment. Therefore, vital controls are set in place to ensure that pubs can safely dispose of beer.


Usually, pub owners would have to complete application forms and then pay the fee to drain beer. This instance, the process is streamlined to make it simpler and faster, ensuring that pubs can be prepared in time for the re-opening of the sector.


Execs speak


Water UK CEO Christine McGourty stated that the trade body considered environmental issues posed by dumping large quantities of spoilt beer in the sewer system. The goal was to manage the risks to waterways and rivers, including the prevention of damage to marine life.


McGourty believes the help of water companies will be essential in ensuring that the right disposal route is utilised, which means the landlords need to apply for the scheme as soon as possible.


BBPA CEO Emma McClarkin said the re-opening of pubs had prompted the collaboration between the association and trade body, making it possible to dispose of the unsaleable beer via the sewer. She encouraged the pub managers and landlords to get their applications submitted as soon as possible to ensure that the process is smooth and timely.


The sector is positive that working together to help solve this problem will help the industry get back on its feet faster. As the lockdown is eased, coordinating with utility providers can boost the UK’s economy and create an ideal situation for the business sector in general.






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