Praise for Suffolk brewer Adnams after it cancels landlords’ rent during Covid-19 crisis

Andy Thompson is the landlord of the Cherry Tree. PICTURE: RACHEL EDGE

Andy Thompson is the landlord of the Cherry Tree. PICTURE: RACHEL EDGE - Credit: RACHEL EDGE

Adnams will stop charging its pub tenants rent during the coronavirus pandemic – with one landlord saying it’s given a “light at the end of the tunnel”.

The Southwold brewer owns pubs throughout Suffolk and cancelled their tenants rent from March 17 for the foreseeable future.

Andy Wood, Adnams chief executive, said: “This was a gesture we felt we had to make on two counts: one, because we want a successful independently run tenancy estate at the end of this and second because it’s the right thing to do. Adnams believes in investing in its communities and lots of these pubs are at the heart of their communities.

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“I can’t say this can go indefinitely, but for the foreseeable future we can continue to support these people. Certainly for the 12 weeks the government is talking about, we have planned for that.”

Andy Thompson and James Buckingham have run the Cherry Tree – a pub tied to the brewery – in Woodbridge for eight years.

Mr Thompson said: “It’s a huge thing for them to do because once all the pubs are shut down I’m not really sure where their income is coming from, the majority of their income comes from rent and pubs purchasing drinks from them. Just physically locking the doors and doing absolutely nothing with this place costs several thousand pounds a month with various different bills and stuff. The rent on top of that would make it three or four times as much.

“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel now, whereas before it was ‘how do you wind this up affecting the least amount of people?’”

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This is not the first time that Adnams has helped out with rent according to Mr Thompson: “We had a fire towards the end of last year. It was a kitchen fire so we lost more than half of our business for two months while it was being rebuilt. And they offered us help with the rent then as well. We’ve always had a really good relationship with Adnams, they’ve alway made it feel like we’re working together rather than just renting a building off them.”

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Not all breweries have cancelled their tenants rent, leading to a Twitter campaign called #NoPubNoRent. A CAMRA spokesman said: “Pub owning companies must cancel rents during this period – deferring until a later date simply doesn’t go far enough. Rent for publicans is based on turnover so it makes sense that when a pub is closed and doesn’t have a turnover they shouldn’t have to pay rent.”

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