More than 200,000 litres of beer have been thrown away in Berkshire during the coronavirus lockdown, according to Thames Water.
With pubs forced to close until last Saturday (July 4), many had to get rid of beer in the cellars that they were not able to keep.
An Environmental Information Request (EIR) by the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) has revealed that 205,872 litres of beer were thrown away in Berkshire from the beginning of March until June 26 this year.
That is around 362,000 pints of beer.
And Reading – where Thames Water has its headquarters – tops the list with 78,352 litres or approximately 138,000 pints.
The 10 places in Berkshire where the most beer was thrown away during lockdown (litres)
- Reading – 78, 352
- Newbury – 37,552
- Slough – 26,803
- Wargrave – 20,720
- Bracknell – 15,551
- Maidenhead – 11, 571
- Sandhurst – 9,590
- Ascot – 2,514
- Wokingham – 1,656
- Pangbourne – 671
There were requests for a total of 27,432 litres in Windsor, which would have placed it third on this list, but all requests in the historic town were refused.
Making up the rest of the list of towns and villages in Berkshire where beer was thrown away are Hungerford – 529 litres – and Mortimer – 363 litres.
Other nearby places with high numbers of beer thrown away include Henley – 4,082 litres, Abingdon – 5,364 and Goring – 1,610.
Thames Water is the biggest water company in the UK.
The EIR also revealed the amount of beer disposed across the whole area Thames Water is responsible for, which includes the Thames Valley, Luton, Surrey, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Kent and large parts of Greater London.
A total of 3,762,307 litres were thrown away in these areas or around £6.6 million pints.
Reading places just outside the top ten in 11th place.
The 11 places where most beer was thrown away in Thames Water
- Beckton – 1,186,431
- Crossness – 467,758
- Mogden – 313,914
- Long Reach – 214,207
- Maple Lodge – 151,807
- Deephams – 137,928
- Hogsmill – 123,483
- Beddington – 103,069
- Rye Meads – 86,553
- Riverside – 83,805
- Reading – 78,352
Map of top 11 Reading
Where does beer go that pubs cannot sell?
Pubs must request permission from Thames Water to dispose of beer into sewers.
Thrown away beer goes into the foul sewer network, which means it does not end up in rivers.
Tony McHattie, a manager at Thames Water, said each application is assessed on its own merits.
One of the key considerations is ensuring there is enough spare capacity in the sewer pipes and sewage treatment plant.
Thames Water is working with Water UK and the British Beer and Pub Association to ensure pubs get consent to put waste beer into the sewer network.
Pubs are required to provide data, on demand, of any disposal.
Anyone who causes pollution of rivers through disposal of beer or by any other means could face prosecution.
Potential 70 million pints lost across the UK
In May, the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) estimated that 70 million pints would be lost due to Covid-19.
Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of BBPA, said:
“It’s a great shame that so much great British beer that should have been enjoyed in community pubs up and down the country has gone to waste.
“Whilst it is good news that some of the beer can be re-used to help out other sectors affected by COVID-19, such as farming, it is still sad that people are unable to enjoy this beer.
“The need to destroy so much beer really shows how much our brewing and pub sectors have been affected by this crisis.”
By Tevye Markson and Alex Seabrook, Local Democracy Reporting Service