BBPA expands as Wetherspoons joins the fold

Wetherspoons and three other pub and bar groups have joined the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the trade association that represents brewers and pubs.

The BBPA said the four new members – Wetherspoon, Loungers, The Oakman Group and Drake & Morgan – were resentative of “a shift in the beer and pub sector to a modern, innovative and forward-looking industry which the trade association champions”.

Together, the four operators comprise nearly 1100 venues across the UK. The largest, pub company Wetherspoons, was founded in 1979 by Tim Martin and now operates around 900 outlets across the UK. Cafe/bar Loungers operates 146 sites in England and Wales under its Lounge and Cosy Club brands, while Oakman Group has around 27 ‘modern public house’ primarily based in historic buildings. Meanwhile Drake and Morgan comprises 23 cocktail bars and restaurants across London, Manchester and Edinburgh.

The growth in membership highlighted the value of having “a strong voice for the British Pub and brewing sector”, the BBPA said, particularly in terms of its campaigning work. Last week it hailed the Budget as “an exceptionally successful Budget for the sector” which gave the pubs and brewery sector support of more than £2 billion, including an extension to grants and the Job Retention Scheme, an extension to the VAT cut for hospitality and business rates,and a beer duty freeze.

It said it would continue to campaign for the wider sector as a whole and for wet-led pubs in the coming months “who will need further support in the aftermath of the Budget as they recover in 2021”.

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said the new members represented a shift towards a”modern, innovative offer to beer drinkers and pub goers”.

BBPA Chairman Phil Whitehead, who is managing director of Molson Coors Western Europe, said it was “crucial” to have a unified voice fighting for the pub sector and the  last 12 months had seen the industry working tirelessly together to support the sector.

“Now more than ever, it is crucial that pub operators, brewers and supply chain partners all join under the BBPA banner and ensure that we get the long term economic support to rebuild and grow this sector once again,” he said

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