Family owned brewery Elgood’s forced to lay off workers because of the pandemic

Elgood’s brewery in Wisbech – with a history dating back 200 years – is being forced to lay off staff because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Redundancy notices are going out this week as the family-owned company struggles to keep its head above water.

“The current situation is dire,” said a company spokesperson.

“We are struggling to keep going - we want to keep going- but we have had very little help, as a company, from government or anyone else.”

The spokesperson said they were grateful for the job retention scheme that had seen staff on furlough but with a new scheme not due until November, and new restrictions on pub opening times it felt it had little choice than to lay off some staff.

“We are not the only company who have had to lay off staff and sadly won’t be the last,” said the spokesperson.

Of its redundancy policy and payments, the spokesperson was emphatic that “no one is being treated unfairly. There are as few redundancies as possible.

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“We are doing all we can to look after our staff”.

The North Brink based company has been working with a skeleton staff for much of the year providing its estate of 25 pubs with beer.

The spokesperson said the situation with their pubs varied.

“Those do that serve food are doing OK – they all worked exceedingly hard during the year to try and keep going,” she said.

“Some of our pubs were able to offer take-away food and some even did home delivered meals. But the 10pm curfew is a huge problem – people simply don’t want to be kicked out of their local at that time.”

She added: “This has hit all of the hospitality industry and has been really hard for all pub landlords”.

Elgood’s resumed brewing in August but only with part-time staff.

The company has been unable to open its award-winning visitor centre and gardens which annually would attract thousands of visitors.

Since the later part of the 19th century it has been run by the Elgood family, with the fifth generation now taking the helm.

In recent years it has diversified into retail markets and its real ale and bottled beers have won local, regional, and international awards. Its pub estate is mainly in Cambridgeshire.