In a glorious riposte to Alanis Morrissette and her oft ridiculed idea of irony, on the day designated as “Beer Day Britain” when they are meant to be celebrating the drink that underpins our nation, the pub and brewing trade are analysing and getting used to the news that there will be a likely four week delay to the long hoped for and relied upon “freedom day” of restriction easing. Whilst much of the population looks forward to another month of not having to go into the office so they can enjoy the sunshine a bit more, and maybe sneak in a cheeky Euro 2020 match on TV in the afternoon, the licensed trade is once again ripping up plans, checking bank balances and cash-flow forecasts and tightening their belts and digging in to depleted mental reserves.
It is no different for us here at The Tuppenny. Whilst we always knew that June 21st was liable to be a moveable date, we hoped desperately that it wouldn’t be. For a long time it was all looking good as infection rates dropped and hospitalisations and death rates plummeted as the amazing vaccine roll-out started to have an impact. But, the control of new variants seems to finally have become the overarching motivator to those who are now trying to shut the stable door after the horse called Delta Variant has already bolted. We are once again stuck between the obligation we take seriously to protect the community at large, and our desire and need to run the business we set out to do.
Whilst we have had an amazing level of support so far from you all, for which we are hugely grateful and humbled; when you drill down into the financial evidence, the levels of trade over the last fourteen months are not sustainable and are numbers you wouldn’t build a business plan around. Whilst being open again has been a boost to us, this is more mentally than financially. We love being able to serve you all and enjoy the buzzy atmosphere you all bring with you, but it seems like a long time ago that we were last open with no restrictions, so long that many of you may have forgotten what it is like. The hard facts are we are operating at less than a third of potential capacity and under rules that mean we have to bear the cost of additional staff members. So, at weekends when we would normally have a bar full of vertical drinkers we are turning people away because we can’t seat them, and during the week when we end up with tables spare we have staff members drafted in for table service just in case, cleaning shelves that are already clean (yes, we realise it is impossible to be too clean in our trade).
We are not people to whine about things, preferring to find ways around problems and adapt (and occasionally rant), but times are tough, and we need to be honest about the situation with you all as much as to ourselves: we still need help to ensure we survive as a business. Fret not though, we are not yet on the verge of chucking in the towel, and there are plenty of easy things you can do to keep helping us out.
We appreciate not everyone can, or wants to, come out during the week, when we have spare tables (if you can, please don’t be shy), so if you want to keep supporting us don’t forget about the online shop. Almost everything you can get in the bar you can order for home delivery or to click and collect (at retail pricing). Deliveries are now Wednesday only so you need to think ahead a little bit, but click & collect is available every day. We have some great gift ideas as well, such as our T-Shirts, mixed cases and our glassware and beer gift packs – perfect for Father’s Day this weekend. We have six-packs of chilled lager and pale ale, ideal for back-garden barbecues, or chilled wine for those not into beer. We are local pioneers of natural, bio-dynamic wines, so why not explore that world with us, or just have a house-party with some take-away Tuppenny cocktails?
We haven’t started any of our music events yet as we wanted a full room to enjoy them, and need the income that provides to pay for the artists performances, but now have the dilemma of having two or three live performances and a meet the brewer event all scheduled before this new easing date. Yes, we know it was never guaranteed, but we got excited and missed putting things on so took a chance! We have to decide, will these have the same atmosphere and can we afford to take the small hit on them? You could possibly influence that decision by making sure you let us know you would want to attend them, and would have your drinking trousers at the ready! Simple acts like confirming attendance on Facebook event pages and commenting on and sharing things will all go a long way towards easing our troubled minds about these events, so go and have a look at our website or Facebook events pages.
We are always open to ideas – what aren’t we stocking that maybe we should (if anyone shouts Carling they are barred)? If you think we are missing out on something perfect for us, don’t be shy and let us know. Things are tough for sure, but enough small acts will make a huge difference to us as a business and help keep us fighting the good fight against bland, mainstream corporate nonsense. Oh, and come and celebrate Beer Day Britain with us – British beer is one thing we are not short of!