Figures from the Office for National Statistics have shown that more than 11,000 pubs have closed since 2008.
It shows that small independent pubs represent the biggest number of closures with pubcos consolidating estates and focusing on large, high turnover bars.
The ONS data showed that the total number of boozers has fallen from 50,000 in 2008 to 39,000 in 2018.
That means almost one in four pubs has closed in only a ten year period - but the story isn’t all negative.
Many pubs’ turnover has held up or remained flat since 2008 – and the remaining pubs have benefited from other locals closing down.
Employment figures too, show a positive story. The ONS stats show there are six per cent more jobs in pubs and bars than there were in 2008. It believes this is due to pubs increasingly focusing on food as well as drink, which requires more back of house and waiting staff than wet-led boozers.
Overall, the number of employees in pubs has increased from five to eight in the past decade. It is even more stark in rural areas – increasing employment by 17 per cent from 2008 compared to only four per cent in urban areas.
But most workers are low paid with around 70 per cent below the so-called ‘Living Wage’ of £10.55 in London and £9 per hour elsewhere.
Regionally, the biggest decline in pub numbers is the commuter belt and the edge of cities. The area losing the most pubs was Torfaen in Wales with Scottish areas include Glasgow especially also seeing large numbers of closures.
Tourism is increasingly propping up pubs, according to the ONS, with boozers in tourist areas such as the Highlands, Ceredigion in west Wales, the Lakes and seaside towns holding up well.
Pub numbers also remained stable in some cities, including Newcastle, Milton Keynes, York, and in the London borough of Hackney.
Although small independent pubs are closing, the number of independently-owned larger pubs is steadily rising. Also, small pub chains, which are often regional, family-owned businesses, have also switched their focus away from small pubs towards medium and large bars.