Introduction to the August/September 2023 edition

Once again, I bring you mixed messages. Sadly, more London independent breweries have closed (see the Brewery News section) yet other reports are more positive. Presuming that Fuller’s and Young’s can be taken as good indicators of the trade in London, their recent results are encouraging. At the end of May, Young’s reported that London, which contains over half of its estate, was its best performing area. Sales in the year to 31 March rose by 19.4% to £369 million. The company paid an increased dividend accordingly.
Chief executive Simon Dodd told the Evening Standard, “London is bouncing back; it really feels back to normal.” He did however qualify that by saying that it was mostly on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Likewise, Fuller’s saw their sales in the same period rise by 33% to £336 million although pre-tax profits fell slightly however to £10.3 million. Sales in central London were up by 40% and, according to chief executive Simon Emeny, would have been £5 million higher but for the strikes on the railway system. He also said that the Elizabeth Line had made a significant contribution and that tourists from north America and east Asia were returning. Longer term, it may also help that a number of companies which relocated to Canary Wharf are reported to be planning to return to the City. Let us hope that the good news spreads right across the pub and brewery trade.
Tony Hedger