19% fall in 24hr late-night alcohol licenses
The number of pubs, bars and nightclubs with 24-hour alcohol licenses has fallen by 19% over the last five years to 742 in 2018, down from 919 in 2013*, as expected demand for 24-hour night life fails to materialise
The high level of insolvencies in the pub and bar sector is a major factor contributing to the decline in 24-hour licenses while changing attitudes has resulted in a gradual shift away from excessive alcohol consumption amongst the millennial generation.
Research shows 29% of 16 to 24-year-olds were non-drinkers in 2015, up from 18% in 2005**. It has also been suggested that millennials make more use of apps to meet a partner at the expense of going to nightclubs.
Low real wage growth since the financial crisis and uncertainties around the outcome of Brexit have also dampened consumer spending within the late-night leisure sector. This has driven a shift in spending away from pubs and bars towards supermarkets, where alcohol is cheaper. The number of supermarkets and stores with 24-hour alcohol licenses has increased 40% over the last five years to 2,680 in 2018, up from 1,909 in 2013.
These factors, together with high beer duty and business rates, has resulted in a high number of pubs and bars closing in recent years, which is likely to contribute to the fall in 24 hour licences. Beer sales in pubs fell to 9.3 million barrels in the first three quarters of 2018, down from 9.4 million over the same period in 2017. Meanwhile, beer sales in supermarkets increased to 10.7 million, up from 10.2 million***.
Marco Mauro, Legal Director says: “24-hour alcohol licenses were expected to boost the night-time economy but this has simply not happened. Continued cultural changes in the way people interact and socialise, such as through dating apps, and the rise of Netflix, has created less demand for pubs, bars and nightclubs.
Increasingly many individuals are also now not going out until much later in the evening, and, as a result, they can often spend less on drinks at the pubs. For most venues the potential extra revenue from staying open 24-hours is still not enough to make those businesses sustainable operations, resulting in many pubs and bars having to close their doors.
Also, the expensive requirement for door supervisors in some local authorities has acted as a significant burden for some businesses. Without a more supportive attitude from local and central Government, we could see a further decline in this part of the late-night economy.”
Pubs, bars and nightclubs with 24-hour licenses has fallen by 19% between 13/14 and 17/18 as demand fails to materialise
The number of supermarkets and stores with 24-hour licences has increased rapidly, growing 40% between 13/14 and 17/18
*ONS data on alcohol and late-night refreshment licensing. Year end 31 March (2014/15 data not available)
**UCL 2017 - BMC Public Health
***BBPA – Beer Barometer
For more information on this article, you can contact Marco Mauro, or you can give us a call on 0345 070 6000.