Robinsons brewery, 182-year-old Stockport based brewer and pub company, report their financial performance for 2020. Led by cousins William and Oliver Robinson, the business has navigated an incredibly challenging year as a result of the global pandemic and national restrictions which have had a considerable effect on the hospitality sector. While 2020 trading performance was significantly impacted by pub closures, the business has maintained a strong balance sheet and cash position, and looking ahead to 2021, is now trading profitably.

Turnover from continued operations decreased from £71.5m in 2019 to £45.6m in 2020; a decrease of £25.9m. This fall in turnover resulted in an operating loss of £6.8m in 2020 compared to a profit generated from continued operations of £3.9m the year before. This is an overall decline year-on-year in operating profit of £10.7m.

Consistent with their long-term plan to support their English and Welsh tenanted pubs as well as their growing managed pubs business, they led the way in the sector with zero rents when pubs were closed and reduced rents as they emerged under restrictions. These concessions were the equivalent of a 77% reduction in normal rent during the year. They were also keen to acknowledge the great work carried out by their in-house cellar services and logistics teams in managing the destruction of over 1m pints of beer at the end of the first lockdown. Robinsons were once again shortlisted for Leased and Tenanted Pub Company of the Year at the Publican Awards.

In addition, the 6th generation family brewer continued to invest in their beer brands with the launch of Hopnik IPA in July 2020, which mitigated some of the cask category decline. They also continued their strategy to enhance their existing managed and tenanted pubs by investing £4.4m in developments and improvements; the 2021 investment plan is also close to pre-pandemic levels.

Whilst financial support received from the UK government has been greatly appreciated, the business is keen to point out that despite being forced to close their pubs in support of the national coronavirus effort, they still paid more to the UK government in taxes than they received. The Group received a total of £5.1m of support in the year and paid a total of £7.6m through taxation.

The managing directors acknowledge that the reduced taxation burden announced during 2020 through the freeze in beer duty, cancellation of business rates, VAT reduction, the Eat Out to Help Out and furlough scheme were both timely and appropriate. They were also appreciative of the increased demand for their contract bottling services and especially the effort and attitude of their packaging centre employees, in meeting the challenges presented in the most turbulent of years.

As the directors conclude: “The coronavirus pandemic created a set of circumstances beyond any the business has faced in its 182-year history. The board, working with our executive team, set out a clear strategy when the pandemic hit to support our licensees and employees as best as we could afford to. We have stuck firmly to this commitment throughout the last year.

Our business is based on the success of our licensees’ businesses and the dedication of our teams at the brewery, packaging centre and in our managed pubs. We believe that by setting out a clear and supportive stance towards them, they were in the best position to be able to survive the pub closures caused by the national and local lockdowns and as such, are able to re-emerge strongly which was our key priority and strategic aim.”

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