Cheshire family brewer Frederic Robinsons have confirmed their plans to support pubs and staff through the current crisis. The brewery was one of the first to assist licensees with their domestic and business rents, cancelling both from 16th March until pubs are allowed to re-open. This was soon followed by them suspending all direct debits and freezing repayments of loans and interest charges. In addition, they have confirmed they will be replacing all draught beer and cider which goes out of date during this crisis with fresh stock.
The brewery has gone onto provide updates and support to their 240 tenanted pubs via e-mail, phone and their licensees Facebook group which has been a key way to communicate in fast-changing times as noted by Joe Farrell from the Windsor Castle, “I’ve been a tenant for 11 years and the brewery has always been supportive, but even more so at this difficult time. They have reacted quickly and shared briefs throughout the day including setting up a Pub Hub via Facebook so that all licensees can talk, make friends and support each other. Help is only a phone call away.”
The supportive approach was also endorsed by James Almond, director of Almond Pubs, “Robinsons were the first to move on beer support and to have our rent cancelled rather than deferred. This is what we have come to expect from a local family business who can swiftly mobilise support when it is needed. It has not gone unnoticed by their licensees how hard the management have worked and the hours put in so far to support us financially but also with great advice. We are a second-generation family business with six pubs, all of which do not qualify for any grant support because their rateable values are above £51,000. I know the BBPA is lobbying for this to change but we are going to need further support over the coming months or businesses like ours will not be able to last.”
The brewery has also confirmed that the support is extended to its’ family of employees. Managing Directors Oliver and William Robinson said, “the Board and Executive team have taken a voluntary pay cut and we are down to a skeleton team on full pay at the brewery and packaging centre with the rest of the business receiving 80% of their normal salary, most of them since 23rd March. There are tough times ahead, but we have not had to make any redundancies so far- we intend to look after our people through this. I’m incredibly proud of our great licensees and staff for the resilience they have shown as we enter unchartered waters. There is a real team spirit throughout the business. We are nothing without great people and great pubs and we look forward to getting back to doing what we are good at.”
“In addition, the brewery continues to brew and package beer for export and a vibrant off-trade. We support many brewers with production and packaging and, as long as it is safe to do so, we plan to continue supporting our brands and others. Also, unlike some others, we also took the decision to pay suppliers in full at the end of March repaying their support for us over the years. We’ve survived two world wars and plan to emerge from this in good shape and surrounded by great customers, suppliers and licensees.”