Recently, BrewDog closed six bars. Then came the dire warning that a pint of beer could rise to a staggering £20. Soaring energy prices aren’t just impacting individuals – they’re also posing challenges for businesses, whose bills aren’t capped.
The latest venue to feel the pinch is Britain’s ‘oldest pub’, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks. The establishment has been running since 793 AD, meaning it’s seen and survived the English civil war, 17 recessions, two world wars and five pandemics, including the Black Death. You could say it’s been through a lot.
The 1,200-year alehouse in St Albans, Hertfordshire, has struggled in recent years and was almost driven into administration in February due to the impact of the Covid pandemic. But earlier on this year, it had a fighting spirit and we all thought it would live to see some more of the world’s drama.
But now, the energy crisis could be what finally kills it.
General manager of Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, Ronan Gaffney, said: ‘It’s outrageously more expensive. It’s not like at home where you can turn everything off but the fridge and freezer – we’ve got certain things that need to stay on for health and safety and general upkeep.
‘Our light bill is ten times more than what it is in a house because at home you can turn off all the lights except the one you’re in, but you can’t do that in a pub.
‘So, we don’t have a choice, we can’t really cut down on energy bills but we are being charged double the amount.’
Will the pub be forced to call last orders for one last time? With Ye Olde Fighting Cocks being such a unique piece of the UK’s drinking history, let’s hope it finds a way to stay open.