Brewers and hospitality groups are preparing for a hit to beer sales this year after signs emerged of UK and European consumers limiting their drinking budgets (The Financial Times £).

Pubs and restaurants face a “perfect storm” of challenges this year as cash-strapped consumers slash spending and the government reduces its energy bills support – forcing many to cut their opening hours (The Guardian).

Rail strikes have cost Britain’s bars, pubs, hotels and restaurants £1.5bn in lost business in December alone, according to the trade body representing the sector (The Financial Times £).

Alcohol-free beer business Lucky Saint is toasting a lucrative start to “dry January” after it raised £10m to help to finance its plan to capitalise on healthier drinking habits (The Times £).

The government’s former drugs tsar Professor David Nutt has developed a new chemical, called Alcarelle, that mimics the effects of alcohol while keeping drinkers in the “two pint” zone (The Telegraph). He is currently raising cash to fund its launch and hopes the public will be drinking it in years to come.

Footfall on Britain’s high streets and shopping centres plunged by more than a quarter in the week after Christmas compared with the week before, figures show (The Guardian).

The pace of store closures in the UK accelerated in 2022 as Covid-era support measures were withdrawn, with rationalisation rather than insolvency the main reason for shops shutting, according to a study (The Financial Times £).

The rate of shop closures across the UK rose sharply last year, with more than 17,000 sites shutting as retailers faced economic turmoil and the rising popularity of ecommerce (The Times £).

The figure is almost 50% higher than 2021 and marks the highest number of closures in the last five years (The Telegraph).

Last year was a “brutal” one for Britain’s retail sector, with more shops shutting down than at any other point in the last five years, and 2023 will be similarly challenging, according to industry groups (The Guardian).

Retailers have failed to benefit from a post-lockdown boost in UK high street activity this year after soaring energy bills and the cost of living crisis forced households to rein in their spending (The Guardian).

A string of Lucozade flavours are being taken off the market because of a plastic bottle shortage, in a blow for drinkers craving a festive hangover cure (The Telegraph). The company has been forced to temporarily halt production of energy drink flavours including Caribbean Crush, Apple Blast and Wild Cherry following a failure at its production facility.

A business editorial in The Guardian argues that Nestlé should give consumers a break as it remains on course to report its best profit figures since 2008 when full-year figures appear next month.

Waitrose has stopped selling single-use vaping products because of their negative impact on the environment and the health of young people (The Guardian).

Customers queued outside stores before dawn, jostled other shoppers and even dived headfirst into display units on Thursday as sales of the sought-after YouTuber-promoted Prime Hydration energy drink kicked off with a fizz at Aldi supermarkets (The Guardian).

Amazon has been accused of “greenwashing on a grotesque scale” after it was revealed products in its eco-friendly range are made up to 5,000 miles away and packaged in single-use plastic (The Telegraph).

The Financial Times (£) carries a feature on Primark looking at the retailer’s move to resist a move to ecommerce. CEO George Weston told the paper that online would damage profitability and was adamant Primark “is and always has been a high street retailer”.

The UK will face one of the worst recessions and weakest recoveries in the G7 in the coming year, as households pay a heavy price for the government’s policy failings, economists say (The Financial Times £).