Jump to content
House Price Crash Forum
Frank Hovis

Pubs Struggling

Recommended Posts

A couple I know change owners every two years or so. It really seems to be a hard business to make a living in, like tenant farmers.

Still if anybody wants to try their hand there are a few openings here:

One pub shuts and others struggle - welcome to 2011

By ben falconer chief reporter ben.falconer@glosmedia.co.uk

FIVE pubs across Stroud are on the market and another has shut, signalling a tough start to 2011.

The Swan Inn, in Union Street, has suddenly closed, while others are looking for new owners amid tough trading conditions.

Pubs and bars on the market include Bar Nine in John Street, Stroud (£695,000 freehold and contents); the Bell Inn, Selsley (£51,950 leasehold); the Duke of York in Nelson Street, Stroud (£250,000 freehold and contents); the Coach & Horses in Ebley (£300,000 freehold and contents); and The Rose in Paganhill (£65,000 leasehold).

"A lot depends what happens with fuel duty," said Pam Thom, landlady of The Queen Victoria pub and chairman of Stroud's pubs Behave Or Be Banned scheme.

"Transport costs look like they are going to go up, VAT is up and alcohol could go up in the next Budget too."

She added: "We are wet trade, with no food or rooms, and we have to make it through drinks. Things like the smoking ban hit us and many other pubs too."

Pam has run the Queen Vic in Gloucester Street, Stroud, for 13 years and reckons 2011 could be the toughest year for the trade.

She said: "It's hard to tell now because trade always drops in January and February any way. Until we are a quarter of the way through the year it is hard to say what will happen."

Meanwhile, the Market Tavern in Stroud, The Beacon in Haresfield and the Amberley Inn have recently reopened.

Bar Nine owner Mark Winchcombe said he did not want to sell but felt the banks were not showing enough faith in the pub and food trade.

"It's on the market but I want to continue to make it work," he said. "Bar Nine is up for sale because of the financial pressures the bank put me under.

"They are requiring me to sell, even though I have made all the payments. I love the building and the area and when I looked at it with a builder and the bank manager it was a good opportunity."

Duke of York landlord Kevin O'Connor said the pub was doing well and he was considering taking it off the market.

He said: "I have been here six months and trade has picked up well."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/features/were-only-here-for-the-beer-how-good-local-ales-are-saving-our-pubs-2189027.html

The number closing has halved in two years...still far too many though... I've heard from several sources that beer-ties can ruin pubs..

We're only here for the beer: How good, local ales are saving our pubs

One year ago, the Highcliffe Hotel was on its last legs. Decrepit and unloved, this handsome pub in a Sheffield suburb was the sort of place where a handful of regular punters provided the only custom. "The owners didn't want it, the community didn't want it," Simon Webster, a local resident, says. "I believe that within a year, it would've been a block of flats and nobody would've cared."

The Highcliffe could easily have joined so many other pubs in the knacker's yard. Famously, 52 of them were closing every week in 2009 (that figure has since dropped to 29, according to the marketing company CGA Strategy). But the Highcliffe survived – and the reasons why it survived should cause pause for thought in the pub industry. Thanks to Webster, the chief operating officer of the Thornbridge Brewery in Derbyshire, it was reincarnated as the Greystones and is now a thriving business. Key to its success has been an emphasis on good beer.

The same story is being repeated across the country. From elegant London bars to cosy Staffordshire inns, those places that concentrate on beer are finding success at a time when so many of their rivals are struggling. The reason why is obvious, believes Charlie McVeigh, owner of the growing Draft House chain of bars in south London. "It should be an 'emperor's new clothes' idea that every pub should have great beer but most of them don't," he says."There aren't that many people taking beer seriously in the way that a great wine bar or a great restaurant would take wine seriously. That's what we set out to do [at the Draft House] but within the cost framework of a pub. The great thing about beer is that, unlike wine, it's democratic."

It is impossible to argue with McVeigh's logic but, unlike beer, the way so many pubs are run in this country is not democratic. At a time when there are almost 800 breweries operating in the UK, it can still be very difficult for them to get their beers into local pubs. The domination of the British pub trade by pub companies ("pubcos") is the problem.

Pubcos decide what beers their tenants can sell and they ensure that their tenants buy only that beer from them ("the beer tie"), even if they could get it cheaper elsewhere. This can make for bland, identikit pubs which boast the same beer range no matter where they are in the country. It's a model that has dominated the British pub industry for the best part of 20 years, but the example of the Greystones suggests its time may be up.

One of the biggest pubcos is Enterprise Inns, which operates around 7,000 pubs in the UK. It owns the Greystones. It did what could prove to be a revolutionary deal with Thornbridge: Enterprise has removed the beer tie, with the exception of kegged lager and Guinness. It means Thornbridge can sell its own ales, plus interesting bottled beers from around the world; the pub, perhaps not surprisingly, has been a huge success – and Thornbridge's own beers have been key.

"It's been fantastic for us," Webster says. "We have had a phenomenal start. We've sold 25,000 pints of our beer in two months: 50p in every pound we take is on Thornbridge beer. It's a good model. We've also sold 8,000 pints of Beck's Vier, which we've bought from Enterprise. They would have never sold that much in the pub's previous format. It's a bit of a win-win, actually."

So successful is this model that Enterprise is keen to use it elsewhere. Already the Dark Star Brewery in West Sussex has a similar deal and more are likely to follow in the forthcoming months, according to Simon Townsend, Enterprise's chief operating officer. He says that Enterprise has been working with the Society of Independent Brewers (Siba) to identify suitable candidates. "There are quite a lot of discussions ongoing," he says. "We've been saying to our guys on the ground, 'If you have an approach from a Siba brewer who would like to take on a pub, this is something we should be considering'. I think this agreement could be the answer to the pubs' problems. If there is a business that is currently being conducted as a brewery – a sound, viable business – then we think we can match them up with pubs."

Townsend expects similar deals to that struck by Thornbridge to be agreed in the next few months but if he takes a look at the example set by Everards Brewery in Leicestershire, he may want to speed up that process. Everards pioneered the sort of scheme Enterprise is now using back in 2007, linking up with microbreweries to revive closed or dilapidated pubs. Named Project William, after the brewery's founder, the scheme means Everards buys the site and leases it to a smaller brewer free of ties, with the exception of its flagship Tiger ale. So far, it has opened 21 pubs in partnership with 12 different breweries.

"Our first project was in Newcastle-under-Lyme at the Greyhound pub," Stephen Gould, the brewery's managing director, says. "We worked with a local brewery, the Titanic Brewery, which is run by Keith Bott, who is also chairman of Siba. We paid £145,000 for the pub, invested another £160,000 in the refit and presented a brand new brewery tap for the local community. Three and a half years later, it continues to trade really well."

Everards has been successful because it has worked with local brewers who make good beer. These are the sort of pubs with five or six hand pumps on the bar, the sort of pubs that you don't necessarily see on every high street. And these are pubs where beer rather than food – long considered the panacea for all of the industry's problems – is the focus. "There is plenty of talk about food being the answer," Gould says. "Obviously food is critical nowadays, and it's very easy to say that the drinks-led pub hasn't got a future. Well, I think that the drinks-led pub that doesn't focus in on quality of beer probably hasn't got a future, but the ones that do can create a point of difference within a local market."

The growth of beer-focused pubs and bars across Britain bears out Gould's view. Take the capital, for example: from the Southampton Arms in Kentish Town to the Rake in Borough via the White Horse in Parsons Green, it is those pubs that take beer seriously that are thriving. And then there's Sheffield, which boasts one of the UK's healthiest pub markets and a thriving microbrewery scene. It is no coincidence.

Webster's experience in Sheffield illustrates how beer can turn a pub around. "Within the first week that the Greystones was open, we had a guy come in and say to the barman, 'Oh, I've just been into the estate agent,'" he says. "The barman said, 'Are you moving?' He said, 'No, I've taken my house off the market because of the pub opening.' Good beer can save a pub."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm from Stroud area. I hadn't been home for 6-12 months or so and couldn't believe it last time I was back. The only pubs that were really busy was the Lord John (Wetherspoons) and the Queen Vic later on. This was a small town that used to have multiple pubs rammed on a Friday and Saturday. I assumed it was people just not being able to afford it any more.

Speaking to a mate who used to run his own pub, he said that any place that was run by the big brewery chains were impossible to turn a profit on as you were contracted to buy certain things at certain prices. Basically you were a jumped up till boy and nothing else.

Bar 9 was always going to go t*ts up though, charging 4 quid a pint in an area thats filled with hippies and chavs was never a sustainable business model. Also, how much for the Coach & Horses!? I wouldn't run it for free, I wouldn't even drink in it for free, let alone pay over quarter of a million quid it.

Edit - To make more sense.

Edited by Vagabond

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I googled a nearby pub to see if it was open and did meals.

The first few search results were London Gazette entries for previous tenants who'd had bankruptcy orders made against them.

Despite this some enthusiastic new grist for the insolvency mill were in there running, presumably, thinking they possessed some special pub running fairy magic none of the previous tenants did.

Most of these pubs are no longer viable but the lure of the pub landlord dream pulls in new mugs through the revolving door which to the outside observer gives the appearance that a sector of small businesses can function in our brave new 21st century economy when they, sadly, can't.

You can spot the pub struggling more and more by how the number of chalk sign A-boards proliferate outside offering take-out fish&chips or other desperate gimmicks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://www.independe...bs-2189027.html

The number closing has halved in two years...still far too many though... I've heard from several sources that beer-ties can ruin pubs..

One of the biggest pubcos is Enterprise Inns, which operates around 7,000 pubs in the UK. It owns the Greystones. It did what could prove to be a revolutionary deal with Thornbridge: Enterprise has removed the beer tie, with the exception of kegged lager and Guinness. It means Thornbridge can sell its own ales, plus interesting bottled beers from around the world; the pub, perhaps not surprisingly, has been a huge success – and Thornbridge's own beers have been key.

"It's been fantastic for us," Webster says. "We have had a phenomenal start. We've sold 25,000 pints of our beer in two months: 50p in every pound we take is on Thornbridge beer. It's a good model. We've also sold 8,000 pints of Beck's Vier, which we've bought from Enterprise. They would have never sold that much in the pub's previous format. It's a bit of a win-win, actually."

Hah - Big Business finds out if they stop being fascists with layers of no-good jobsworth manager control freaks, people can get on with the job and actually sell a product people enjoy, in the right 'pub' environment and the price/sales finds it's own level.

Time to dump all those life-style-job bullshitters (and their perverse ideologies) who held onto the coat tails of biggest bull/rising market in history,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hah - Big Business finds out if they stop being fascists with layers of no-good jobsworth manager control freaks, people can get on with the job and actually sell a product people enjoy, in the right 'pub' environment and the price/sales finds it's own level.

Time to dump all those life-style-job bullshitters (and their perverse ideologies) who held onto the coat tails of biggest bull/rising market in history,

Even if you tackled the Pubco issues I think there are still significant issues around the fundamental viability of much of this sector.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cinemas aren't fareing much better, I've visted my local "Showcase" 3 times this month, evening at the weekend when you'd expect it to be busiest, and there were no more than 10 people in the theatre, recently released supposedly popular films.

You know they're cutting back where they've closed the 3-till ticket offce and now you buy your tickets from the one person at the popcorn counter.

Edited by exiges

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm independent but have still dropped 2 lines as my purchase cost of Stella is way too much to sell now and turnover of another line means I would lose too much as wastage.

Selling drink alone has been a no go for a long long time.

My leasehold neighbours change hands regularly as the brewery find new hopefuls who quickly become disillusioned despite trading all hours god sends.

Edited by man o' the year

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cinemas aren't fareing much better, I've visted my local "Showcase" 3 times this month, evening at the weekend when you'd expect it to be busiest, and there were no more than 10 people in the theatre, recently released supposedly popular films.

You know they're cutting back where they've closed the 3-till ticket offce and now you buy your tickets from the one person at the popcorn counter.

They shot themselves in the foot (tearing out the original huge screens) coz loads of people will have screens as big as their smallest ones soon, in their living room.

Going to see a flick in Manchester or London at the few cinemas left who didn't tear their one/two main huge screens out is still something worth doing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They shot themselves in the foot (tearing out the original huge screens) coz loads of people will have screens as big as their smallest ones soon, in their living room.

Going to see a flick in Manchester or London at the few cinemas left who didn't tear their one/two main huge screens out is still something worth doing.

Once cinema releases come out on Blur-ray at the same time, then that's the end of the cinema..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cinemas aren't fareing much better, I've visted my local "Showcase" 3 times this month, evening at the weekend when you'd expect it to be busiest, and there were no more than 10 people in the theatre, recently released supposedly popular films.

You know they're cutting back where they've closed the 3-till ticket offce and now you buy your tickets from the one person at the popcorn counter.

My local cinema (south London) is now £10 for an adult ticket (was £9 before Jan 1st), almost 2 hours' minimum wage to sit in one of hundreds of seats and watch a film for an hour or two. Beer in any pub but Wetherspoons is £3.40-£3.80 a pint. Except for special occasions, it's just not worth the money anymore. I'd rather put the cash towards a holiday.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hardly see anyone under 25 in a pub anymore.

Lots of people used to go them before age 18. Now with political correctness, that doesnt really happen anymore. I think you have to start young and go with your mates to get used to pub drinking. Instead, with that change, plus low wages, younger people have got used to buying beer on the cheap from Tescos. Sad really, pubs can be a great place to go.

Are we all really going to end up sitting at home on our own, watching wide screen tv films drinking Stella from Tescos?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Penrith's (rather old-fashioned) cinema is facing closure, and it appears that it's not even down to the cinema but the attached bingo hall that's making a loss (apparently the cinema isn't).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm independent but have still dropped 2 lines as my purchase cost of Stella is way too much to sell now and turnover of another line means I would lose too much as wastage.

Selling drink alone has been a no go for a long long time.

My leasehold neighbours change hands regularly as the brewery find new hopefuls who quickly become disillusioned despite trading all hours god sends.

In retail, I've found the stream of space cadets opening cupcake shops/nail bars/coffee shops has proved far more inexhaustible than I anticipated.

In the better times they'd saved from themselves a bit as the shop landlords would have bigger fish to fry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hardly see anyone under 25 in a pub anymore.

Lots of people used to go them before age 18. Now with political correctness, that doesnt really happen anymore. I think you have to start young and go with your mates to get used to pub drinking. Instead, with that change, plus low wages, younger people have got used to buying beer on the cheap from Tescos. Sad really, pubs can be a great place to go.

Are we all really going to end up sitting at home on our own, watching wide screen tv films drinking Stella from Tescos?

yes

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In retail, I've found the stream of space cadets opening cupcake shops/nail bars/coffee shops has proved far more inexhaustible than I anticipated.

In the better times they'd saved from themselves a bit as the shop landlords would have bigger fish to fry.

Crystals and scented candles! :blink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Crystals and scented candles! :blink:

Just not in pubs eh Mr P!

I was in a seaside bar a couple of months ago, it was ok. Then the staff started putting candles on the tables and dimmed the lights. I put my coat on and left.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Combination of very high costs from beer ties, rates, VAT, SkyTV, insurances, job taxes (NI) etc. and other factors causing customers to not come in: supermarket prices, cheap booze offers in restaurants, smoking ban, expensive to get home afterwards, violence in the streets

and there were, at the peak certainly, too many pubs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hardly see anyone under 25 in a pub anymore.

Lots of people used to go them before age 18. Now with political correctness, that doesnt really happen anymore. I think you have to start young and go with your mates to get used to pub drinking. Instead, with that change, plus low wages, younger people have got used to buying beer on the cheap from Tescos. Sad really, pubs can be a great place to go.

Are we all really going to end up sitting at home on our own, watching wide screen tv films drinking Stella from Tescos?

When your on the dole your lucky if you can afford to do that! (With the supermarket brand stella too).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was in a Wetherspoons yesterday morning and they have a new menu for the 2.5% VAT increase.

Breakfast deal up 20% from £1.49 to £1.79

Pricing in future increases so they can have a big sign in the future saying Prices Held?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A couple I know change owners every two years or so. It really seems to be a hard business to make a living in, like tenant farmers.

That's been happening for a long, long time. It's the dream: make your money working in the City, then buy in to a lifestyle you love. Only it doesn't work like that: one in [many] banksters may make it and live the dream, but for most of them it's become the nightmare within a couple of years.

Fortunately there are still pubs with the right landlords who make a good business of it. And nowadays with some of the big chains struggling there are opportunities for many of those who have made a go of tied houses to buy out a freehold. I have a few squid in a venture capital fund that supports such buyouts and it's yielding a good return on my investment (about 5% basic, but worth 7% once you factor in the initial tax break and the whole 7% is itself tax-free).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The country pubs around here are pretty much doomed. I feel a tension in the bars, because customers have to drive home. I’m lucky and can walk to my local, but am not a regular pub goer. When I do make an appearance, the landlady - who is often pissed - has a dig at me for not supporting the pub. It’s a fair point, but I don’t trust myself and find beer too addictive. I would drink 3 - 4 pints every night.

I see the results of alcohol everyday in my job. In fact, at anyone time there are probably around 10 patients in the hospital with alcoholic liver disease. Eventually, back pressure from the damaged liver causes veins in the throat to burst, and these people end up having mass transfusions and clotting factors, surgery etc. It costs the NHS a fortune. If the bleeding can be stopped, they invariably return a few weeks/months later with the same ruptured aneurism. Eventually they die.

And it’s not just older people . The youngest patient I’ve seen was 32.

But, I digress. It’s a real shame that pubs are waning and humans are becoming more and more secluded, from each other. however I recognise that I don’t support them anymore either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I googled a nearby pub to see if it was open and did meals.

The first few search results were London Gazette entries for previous tenants who'd had bankruptcy orders made against them.

Despite this some enthusiastic new grist for the insolvency mill were in there running, presumably, thinking they possessed some special pub running fairy magic none of the previous tenants did.

Most of these pubs are no longer viable but the lure of the pub landlord dream pulls in new mugs through the revolving door which to the outside observer gives the appearance that a sector of small businesses can function in our brave new 21st century economy when they, sadly, can't.

You can spot the pub struggling more and more by how the number of chalk sign A-boards proliferate outside offering take-out fish&chips or other desperate gimmicks.

Greene Kings Tenancy division exploit this ruthlessly. Quite happy to target ex servicemen and part them from their retirement cash. Indeed if you go to their website they mention 'ex services' as part of the sell :angry:

Edited by Kurt Barlow

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • 311 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.