A Biddulph pub owned by a Congleton brewer is expecting an energy price increase of 400%.
The Crafty Flanker pub on High Street saw its turnover drop by a third as it navigated its way out of the pandemic, and is now preparing for a five-fold increase in energy costs.
Congleton man Nick Calvert, who owns both the Crafty Flanker and Front Row Brewing brewery in Brindley Ford, said he thought it would survive but there feared that across the country many businesses could go under as they struggled to afford the rise in fuel prices – unlike households, business costs are not capped.
Mr Calvert also warned customers that prices will have to increase.
“We’ve not been hit by the rising energy costs just yet because we’re in a three-year contract which runs out in December,” he said.
“We’re currently paying 16p per unit and the current rate is 80p per unit, so it’s gone up fivefold since we signed our contract. I’ve seen people in the industry getting 500% to 600% increases.
“On top of that our turnover has dropped by a third, although it’s getting back to where it was. We know our customers will return but there’s a lot who aren’t coming out right now.”
Mr Calvert was confident the Crafty Flanker would weather the rise in energy costs as it was only a small premises, and was “insulated well”. But he added that there would be small price rises.
“At the moment we’re more worried about the impact it will have on the brewery. We’re just going to have to go with the flow and see how things are, but prices will be going up,” he explained.
Earlier this year The Crafty Flanker was named the pub of the season by members of the Staffordshire Moorlands branch of the Campaign for Real Ale, Camra.
Each season the group’s members nominate pubs within the Moorlands that they feel are worthy of a commendation for the quality of real ale served.
Mr Calvert, a former rugby player, opened the pub just over a year ago, and all the beers produced have been given a rugby-themed name. The independent brewery was originally set up in Congleton before relocating to Brindley Ford three years ago.
Chief officer of Biddulph Town Council Sarah Haydon told the Chronicle that although there was no scheme available to support businesses locally the town hall had a plan to boost trade in Biddulph.
She said: “As far as I’m aware, there is no local schemes coming out where we can support businesses financially; our position has been to just try and get people together.
“We are however sending out an invitation to all local businesses in the town to try and revive the Biddulph Chamber of Commerce, so we’re having a pea and pie supper tonight (Thursday).
“Every local business in the town is invited. As a town council we’ve got no remit to make people have these conversations, but we’ll provide a venue and hopefully businesses will benefit from it.”