The number of pubs and bars in Britain has dropped below 100,000 for the first time on record as punters are put off by the price of a pint.
More than 44,000 licensed premises have closed in the last 20 years, leaving just 99,916 still trading at the end of September this year.
The research by consultancy CGA/NIQ showed it was the lowest number since records began in 2003, as the pandemic and high costs accelerated closures.
Drinkers have been put off by rising prices, with a pint costing 74p more this year than last.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed the average pint of lager cost £4.62 in September, up from £3.88 in the same month last year.
For sale: Drinkers have been put off by rising prices, with a pint costing 74p more this year than last
Kate Nicholls, of industry body UK Hospitality, called on Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to grant tax breaks to the pub industry.
‘It can not only save more local and national businesses but enable investment,’ she said.
The largest losses over the last two decades have been drink-led pubs, bars and nightclubs and independent operators over larger chains.
However, the number of venues focused on food, such as gastropubs, has increased, reflecting shifting consumer behaviour.