The fickle nature of the beer and pub industry

I’ll start off by saying this blog post is only about the 1% of customers with the other 99% being pretty good 😉

I’ll do this kinda scenario-based….

  • Brewery sells beer to a pub, the invoice comes with 30 day terms as standard.
  • The Pub has those full 30 days in which to sell the beer and pay their bill.
  • Nearing the end of the 30 day term the brewery issues a polite reminder that their payment date is close.
  • The Pub fails to pay.
  • A week or so later the brewery issues a Late Payment reminder.
  • The Pub fails to pay or respond to the reminder.
  • A week later a further Late payment notice is sen to the pub, these late reminders could take the form of an email, a letter in the post, a text message, an attempt to contact via the phone or a direct message on social media.
  • The Pub fails to pay and ignore all methods of contact, even when they have clicked the Read-Request in their email or you can see an iPhone iMessage has been read or that a message has been seen via social media.
  • Another week later and further, much more stern communications with the pub are sent.
  • Again the Pub fails to pay or respond to any form of contact.

*For us at Wishbone: At this point these ridicules matters are passed to me (Adrian) from my wife (Emma), she finds that Pubs are less likely to take notice of a Woman. That is a shocking state of affairs and, seriously, have a word with yourselves!*

  • Again multiple methods of contact are used to tell the pub in no uncertain terms that if payment isn’t received immediately then matters will be passed to our Debt-recovery Solicitor and they will include all our Solicitor’s fees on top of paying their bill and any late payment fees.

*For us at Wishbone: This is now around the 60 days of non-payment, which is vastly unfair, we have had to be very blunt with our customer and the threat of Solicitor’s being our only next step usually gets the money out of them!

  • This is also sometimes the point where social media and public posting start become a valid means of extracting payment!

*Oh and just to add an extra Insult, the pub pays by Cheque adding even more days onto it before the money comes out of their account! But at least we got paid eh!! FFS!

The simple facts:

  • The Customer agreed to buy beer.
  • The Customer signed a delivery note/invoice that states our payment terms.
  • The Customer sold the beer.
  • We held up our part of the bargain and more than likely uplifted the empty casks too.
  • We need paying for the goods so we can pay our staff and all other associated bills.
  • We spent an extra 30 days, on top of the allowed 30 days, waiting for and trying to get payment.
  • When we finally get payment from the customer we find that the customer decides to fall out with us, take-their-bat-and-ball-home and won’t want to trade with us again.
  • We didn’t do anything wrong, we only ask to be paid for the goods we sold.


The thing we take from all this is that some customers do have ups-and-downs, turnover fluctuates in business, some customers are so laid back, some customers are forgetful and slack… this doesn’t mean they are horrible people ‘cos some of them are lovely.

Yet if you read all the above you will have seen that the main problem is a customers ‘Lack of Communication’ with us at the brewery. If you don’t talk to us the only thing that happens is that you are backing us into a corner with little option but to send in the heavy mob (Solicitors).

It is not worth the added hassle of dealing with people who do not pay on time, it costs us money and causes stress. I think we are pretty lenient at Wishbone, there are lots of companies that would have sent a Solicitor’s letter 10 days after the agreed payment terms.

Thanks for listening, this is a fact of life for Breweries all over the UK. Try to be in the 99% not the 1% 😉



*A little note about a chunk of the Wholesalers beer market, we know some good modern wholesalers who pay with 30 days terms, this is great…. Though with those old Traditional wholesalers, don’t expect to see any money for 60 to 75 days after delivery! Those guys need to get with the times and play fair rather than making the Brewers support their businesses.