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"A penny for your thoughts"

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Britain's long loved pubs under closure threat

The Great English Drinkers and Their Times, Britain's national pastime in taverns and inns coming to an end? The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) released startling figures in the first week March that there are now 39 pubs closing in Britain each week. The closure rate has been creeping upwards for the past six or seven years. The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) asserts that about 2,000 pubs have closed in the past 12 months, with the loss of 20,000 jobs. Factors leading to pub closures are:1)Smoking ban 2) Pints of beer will be followed by cups of tea at closing time 3) higher alcohol duties 4) the wide availability of cheap beer and wine in supermarkets and corner shops 5) converting the underperforming pub building into flats could bring more money 6) weakening consumer confidence. 7) soaring utility rates.

Tim Haworth, an antiques dealer, and his wife Alison revived The Bear At Home which was named Oxfordshire's Pub of the Year by Camra in 2007. They transformed it to a profitable pub by opening seven days a week, providing good food not ridiculously expensive, held a beer festival to help to celebrate Moreton Cricket Club's 150th anniversary last year, allocating beer garden for traditionalists who can play Aunt Sally while neophytes can log on to the pub wi-fi - a homely boozer good for family, dogs, hikers, bikers, whoever.

Co-editor of The Good Pub Guide, Fiona Stapley believes that the pubs best placed to survive are those that diversify. A lot of pubs are starting to open for breakfast, as well as offering internet facilities or running shops. These are the pubs that are going to survive: pubs with hard-working, flexible landlords who really care about their pubs and really care about their customers. For rural pubs, diversification often means broadening the business (like providing post office service) far beyond the traditional parameters of selling beer and packets of prawn cocktail crisps.
Many old haunts have gone to the wall. People are more and more becoming isolated in their homes and ordering in Pizza's, takeaways, drink etc. Many shop on line even for groceries. Drinking pints at home (where you can smoke if you must) instead of down the pub. How acurate was the film Soylent Green?.
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