Liberation Groups’ annual report has revealed that like-for-like sales growth of its Channel Island pubs fell by 12.6% in the second to fourth quarter of 2021, compared to the previous two years.
Simon Hope, Liberation Group’s Chief Financial Officer, argued this performance was tied to a reduction in tourism to the islands and the town-centric nature of local pubs which saw reduced footfall because of home working orders.
But the Group celebrated winning the tender for sole distribution of Diageo products to the Channel Islands. Marc McGuigan, Group Managing Director of Brewing & Distribution, said the deal “has really helped provide further momentum to the Jersey and Guernsey drinks businesses”.
“There have been issues with the supply of many products that is magnified for our drinks business on the Channel Islands. The team have been very nimble though and managed to maintain supply and support our customers, delivering great service in uncertain times.”
Mr McGuigan said the Group expects tourism to return fully to Guernsey and Jersey and so anticipate a strong summer of trading this year.
The Group’s Chief Executive, Jonathon Lawson, added that the commencement of their capital investment programme would help to deliver growth on drinks distribution over the coming years.
Pictured: Jonathon Lawson, Chief Executive of Liberation Group.
“We owe a massive thanks to our teams who have been incredible throughout the last few years and have been led by a very talented team of leaders who understand the market and their customers incredibly well,” said Mr Lawson.
“Trade has been particularly strong in the UK and Guernsey and a clear recovery is visible in Jersey thanks to the return of tourism and an increase in footfall from the financial district in St Helier, resulting in Channel Island Managed Pubs delivering broadly flat LFL’s vs 2019.
“Our Liberation Brewery in Jersey complements our larger volume Butcombe Brewery and deservedly picked up a World Champion award for Liberation IPA at this year’s prestigious International Brewing Awards. They are also now producing a range of small batch cask ales that is perfectly in tune with the market.”
Mr Lawson said the Group expects to produce over 30,000 barrels of booze this year across its two breweries.
“The Platinum Jubilee Weekend delivered a fantastic week of sales across our Group and in all markets with several our pubs delivering record weekly sales. We were delighted that so many customers chose to celebrate this unique event with us,” concluded Mr Lawson.
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