Karan Bilimoria, the founder of Cobra Beer and president of the CBI, says the curry industry has been ‘an inspiration’ in times of adversity, and that he is grateful for the support his business has received from the sector.
Bilimoria also recently attended the Curry Life Awards 2021, held in October. He said:
“I was pinching myself at the Awards, thinking, was this event really happening after the nightmare we have been through for over 18 months? [Are] 750 members of our industry from all around the UK in-person together? There was such a wonderful atmosphere, and it also highlighted the huge sacrifice made and the amazing compassion shown by our restaurants to their local communities, including the NHS. It was of course also a time to remember the tragic loss of loved ones that many of us have experienced.”
Bilimoria also commented how, as President of the CBI, he was privileged to chair the Business 7 (B7) summit in May prior to the UK hosting the G7 in June.
“At the B7, Dr Gita Gopinath, chief economist of the IMF, predicted that the UK would bounce back quickly and strongly from the pandemic because of the £400 billion given by the government to support businesses and our economy, as well as our world-leading vaccination programme,” he said. “In reality we have seen since this summer an energy crisis, fuel crisis, supply chain challenges, labour shortages and the pingdemic. Moreover our tax burden in this country is now at its highest level in seven decades. Inflation has already hit 4.2% and there is the prospect of rising interest rates from an all-time low. The recovery is fragile.”
However, Bilimoria acknowledged that we now are seeing demand coming back. “I believe that we are beating Covid with our continuing strong vaccination programme including boosters, the free availability of lateral flow tests with regular testing proving conclusively very effective,” he said “ The recent success of Pfizer’s anti-viral treatment, tablets for Covid where the trials showed a reduction for hospitalisations and deaths by 89% – this is a game changer.”
Bilimoria said that as long as the hospitality industry continues to show the spirit of resilience and adaptation and in particular continues to be innovative, it will succeed as an industry.
“At Cobra our innovations of King Cobra, our beer double fermented like champagne, produced in Belgium, and our Malabar Blonde IPA are examples of how one can continually innovate successfully. I am so grateful for the support we have received from the curry industry particularly in times of acute adversity – you are an inspiration to the whole country.”