Suffolk: new report shows importance of pub and brewery trade to Suffolk economy

Friday, February 21, 2014
5:45 PM

Campaigners last night made renewed calls for people to support their ‘local’ after new figures revealed breweries and pubs in Suffolk pump more than £260million annually into the county’s economy.

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A report commissioned by the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has also shown more than 12,000 are employed, either directly or indirectly, because of the industry in the county.

The trade has endured a challenging period, with seven pubs across Suffolk and north Essex being converted into supermarkets over the last two years, but owners and landlords are hopeful they are turning the corner.

Nigel Smith, Suffolk area organiser for the Campaign For Real Ale (Camra), said: “It is a far bigger industry for Suffolk than people often realise and it makes local jobs right across the county.

“If you are drinking beer from France or Germany, it is all very nice to try and we all enjoy trying it, but if you are trying to support the local economy then drinking local beers and supporting local pubs that use local food in restaurants is a good way of supporting that local system.

“It has been a difficult time for the pub trade but most of them are still there.

“I have spoken to landlords recently and they are still hopeful of a good year and if people do get out there, it will help the economy.”

Liz Cobbold, head of marketing at Southwold-based Adnams, said the pub trade was important, not just to owners, but to those in the supply chain as well, including farmers.

She added: “Lots of people gave up alcohol in January but pubs are not just about drinking, they are about bringing communities together.

“It is more than just a place to drink, because you can do that at home. We are really trying to build community pubs and pubs that know their local area.”

Frank Walsh, owner of Ipswich’s St Jude’s Brewery Tavern, described pubs and breweries as being very important to the local economy, but he expressed fears at the number of venues which have shut in the town.

He added: “So many of the pubs are now shops so there are so many areas in the town with no community spirit. People will just finish work and go home, which is very sad.”

The study has been put together by Oxford Economics and separated into the impact the trade has on parliamentary constituencies and local authority areas.

In Suffolk, the figures have show there is £50.1m gross value added per year in the Suffolk Coastal parliamentary constituency, £43.3m in Bury St Edmunds and £37m in Ipswich.

In total, for all the parliamentary seats in Suffolk, the trade is responsible for topping up the economy by £265m and creating 12,978 jobs.

Brigid Simmonds, BBPA chief executive, said the figures show how important the industry is across the country but that a freeze in beer duty would boost growth and jobs across the region.

She added: “East Anglia is a British brewing heartland, with local brewers like Adnams having a big economic impact on the region.

“Pubs also play a vital role, not just for local residents, but also for the tourism economy in Suffolk and Norfolk, which employs over 70,000 people.”

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