Pubs & Debt Problems

The British pub industry has been suffering for a long time. In fact, as financial bad luck stories go, with about 29 pubs closing in the UK every week, it’s one of the most shocking.  If you were to plot the number of pubs in operating in the UK on a graph, you’d see a very clear, steady and sharp decline. There were 99,000 pubs in 1905, 75,000 in 1969 and 48,000 in 2013.

The problems go deeper than just numbers though. Even as recently as 2000, there was still an interest in meeting socially in a pub. The recession clearly didn’t help, but in 2015, we can point to taxes, rules and cultural shifts as the major factors that are hurting British pubs. News of unpaid debts, unreliable supplies, administration and debt restructuring are two-a-penny in this market. Can anything be done?

Alcohol has had some dreadful PR in the past decade, rightly so in some cases. That’s undoubtedly led to dwindling numbers of pub goers – as a nation, we’re simply drinking less alcohol. The Office for National Statistics calculated that the average alcohol consumption is 15% over the last ten years. It seems like the world is moving on, yet plenty of people still love a good pub atmosphere and, in the right conditions, public houses can still generate good revenue.

Meanwhile, those that drink sensibly also have supermarkets to buy their favourite tipples from and, quite simply, landlords cannot compete at those margins, nor with their relentless marketing campaigns. The public seem to be moving towards wines, which has hit the traditional ale and beer trade, giving pub owners a torrid time up and down the country.

Other reasons leading to debt problems for pub owners are optimal opening hours, greedy pub chains, rising rents, VAT increases, increased operating costs and even the smoking ban. Many tenants, particularly those tied to large pub chains, claim that they earn less than minimum wage – something too true in our experience.

The New Dawn

In the past three years, the explosion of craft beers and microbreweries has started to if not turn the tide, at least stem it, and to offer a new dawn of quality led pubs that heralds good news for Publicans and Pub-Goers alike.

Despite this though, many pubs encounter various debt issues which require solutions unique to their profession.

 Solved! Debt Problems for Pub Owners

I have spent years advising pub managers/owners on dealing with debt problems for Pub Owners, either to set up repayment plans, restructure their current business, close down in a way that draws a line under their debts, or offload unprofitable elements. I am aware of the various problems associated with leases, tenancy and tied agreements, and stock valuations, so if you want to chat through any issues that may be affecting you, please contact me on  or 01325 365 950.


Best regards


Eamonn Wall