It might sound like a lot of beer, but it's only about an extra half-pint per day!

By Mike Pomranz
May 18, 2021
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Brits love their pints of beer, and many are able to drink in quite substantial amounts (as anyone who has seen the aftermath of an important British soccer match can attest to). But can every single British adult drink an extra 124 pints by the end of 2021? They certainly may feel compelled to now. A financial services firm has calculated that's how many drinks the average Brit will have to purchase to make up for the losses suffered by pubs due to COVID-19.

The firm, Company Debt, started with what they billed as "the latest estimate" of losses to the UK food and beverage industry due to COVID-19: £25.66 billion (or $36.45 billion). Then, using an estimated price for a pint of about £3.94 (or $5.60), they determined those losses to be equal to over 6.5 billion pints, which divided out by an estimate of about 52 million U.K. adults landed them on the 124 pint-per-adult figure.

Drinking pints at a pub
Credit: DisobeyArt/Getty Images

Granted, it's a bit more "back of the beer coaster" math than an actual study, but regardless, it's an interesting way of putting into perspective just how much business pubs have lost due to the pandemic. Saying the industry has lost over $36 billion can be difficult to wrap your head around, but saying every adult in the entire county has to drink an extra 124 pints to make up for the losses is a liquid reality that anyone who's ever had a beer can relate to.

Or, understanding that "not everyone will feel up to the mighty challenge of 124 pints this summer," Company Debt also put the losses in other terms: 122 glasses of wine, 40 roast dinners, or 976 packs of potato chips. "The average pub will need each customer to spend an additional £493 [about $700] this year to combat the impact that Covid has had on the sector," the company wrote on a cheeky poster promoting their message. "Thank you for doing your bit!"

Now, admittedly, Company Debt's take on this matter doesn't appear to be particularly nuanced. It's not clear exactly how they came to their initial £25.66 billion figure or how pubs were teased out from other hospitality businesses. And even then, though pubs are certainly struggling and need support, the U.K. government did offer assistance, so a direct correlation doesn't necessarily exist between lost revenue and the need for the same amount of additional revenue to keep pubs afloat.

But regardless, here's one more way to think about it: With 227 days left in 2021, all Company Debt is suggesting is that Brits buy an additional 11 ounces of beer per day from their local pub. When you put it that way, does it really sound that hard?  Might as well give it a go and see if it works, right?