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Slumping Beer Sales Hits Enterprise Inns


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My best mate, who has worked in the licenced trade all of his life (including quite a lot of time working with Enterprise Inns, and the biggest of the lot, Punch Taverns), assures me that the smoking ban is what has killed the pubs.

Previous recessions have seen an increase in pub attendance, and the cost of beer has always been perceived to be high in my opinion. You could always buy cheaper beer at the supermarket, but people went to pubs because they wanted too. Now the people who bought the beer in great quantities feel like outcasts and although I'm not a smoker I don't blame them.

Drinking and smoking have always gone hand in hand, and whilst pubs these days are full of families, they don't drink to any great degree.

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The tax on alcohol is no more for pub sales than for supermarket sales.

If you want to find blame for the mad price increases on pub pints, I am afraid you will have to look elsewhere.

Like greedy pubcos.

Yup! we have an enterprise pub in our next village, I use it on a regular basis cos I like the walk. I am retired publican and often the landlady and myself have a chat about the way the trade is going. From our talks I have gathered that their annual turnover is in the region of 500/600k. In a coversation at a later date (about 5 months ago) she told me she was fed up, they had just had a rent revue and it was going up to 96k pa.

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I still think some people want a simplistic sound-bite reason for the fall-off in trade. i.e. the smoking ban. OK I have no figures to back up my argument, just my own personal experience in northern towns. However, there was a collapse in night-life about a year BEFORE the smoking ban came in.

Thursday nights near where I live a couple of town-centre bars have pound-a-pint night. It is the probably the busiest night of the week, and definitly the busiest night as far as YOUNG people are concerned. Many of them will be stood outside smoking, and this shows smokers will go out if the price is right. Young people simply cannot afford £3+ each drink.

All this discussion about home-brew: when you start drinking at home I think that is when you are on the slippery slope. People used to go out to bars and clubs to socialise (OK meet the opposite gender). The drink was simply the lubricant for socialising. Personally I see little point in sitting at home with the family getting hammered, you are just drinking for the sake of it.

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1.) As the number of people in pubs dwindle the landlord doesn't need to order as much beer. This results in higher prices from the brewer - he can't negotiate the same deal he used to ...

I knew a couple who ran a village pub as tenants of a large pub co. - they were actually paying more for their supplies wholesale from the pub co. than you or I pay at the local supermarket but as they were tied there was nothing they could do.

I wonder how much of downfall of the pub is due to pub companies like that squeezing the business too hard - too much margin on the supplies and charging too much rent forcing up prices and leaving nothing left in invest in improving the business.

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I still think some people want a simplistic sound-bite reason for the fall-off in trade. i.e. the smoking ban. OK I have no figures to back up my argument, just my own personal experience in northern towns. However, there was a collapse in night-life about a year BEFORE the smoking ban came in.

There wasn't in Newcastle - certainly the city centre pubs and clubs. The points about changing demographics, rising pubco rents and the economic downturn are all valid and well made.

The smoking ban has had however the most devastating effect of all on pubs and clubs. The trade confirms it - this idea of lazy and stupid landlords sitting back and let their businesses fail is daft. The thing you do when your business is going south is to fight to keep it open - I have direct experience of this.

Everyone knew the smoking ban was going to have a dramatic effect. Most non-smokers I know (the majority of my friends) think the atmosphere in pubs is a little bit nicer, but scratch the surface of your average non-smoker and they didn't really mind it in the first place. It was part of the "experience", as it were, just like your drunken mate dribbling on your shoulder as he's so wasted.

I'm not accusing you of being one as you think the decline started in Summer 2006, but ime, it is only the rabid anti-smokers who insist that everything is fine even though the pub trade has already slammed into the non-smoking iceberg.

Thursday nights near where I live a couple of town-centre bars have pound-a-pint night. It is the probably the busiest night of the week, and definitly the busiest night as far as YOUNG people are concerned. Many of them will be stood outside smoking, and this shows smokers will go out if the price is right. Young people simply cannot afford £3+ each drink.

Most smokers I know, myself included, haven't stopped going out to pubs altogether. I haven't stopped, certainly, but I only go out to pubs when there is a good crowd of the lads going (OK, so that's every Saturday). I think that is probably true of most smokers, even the brainwashed ones who think passive smoking is dangerous and that they are worse serial killers than Harold Shipman.

However, apart from once when it was sunny, I've only been to my local once for a couple of cheeky pints since July 1st 2007. I used to go there a couple of times a month and have quite a few. It is the local, "centre of community" pubs that are suffering disproportionately.

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Now really this doesn't stack up does it?

Think about it.In times of economic hardship,the amount of alcohol consumed goes UP,as people seek to drown their sorrows and escape from the reality of the school of hard knocks,(it also contributes to the divorce level increasing as more couples get frustrated and/or intoxicated similtaneously)

Of course if you see both the divorce stats,and probably domestic violence stats rising,one can safely assume that the alcohol consumption HAS gone up,it's just being consumed in larger quantities at home in front of the kids.

It's probably fair to say online gambling will be up there with them.

The smoking ban was merely a bit of kindling for the fire.The objective is to destroy the family unit.

Think of the children!

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However, apart from once when it was sunny, I've only been to my local once for a couple of cheeky pints since July 1st 2007. I used to go there a couple of times a month and have quite a few. It is the local, "centre of community" pubs that are suffering disproportionately.

Mate of mine has a local village pub in Ireland. he says business is down across the board for him, but its the punter he really feels sorry for. Because of their location they used to have a few old timers who would trek the few miles to the pub a few times a month for a chinwag, a pint and a smoke. Now they just don't bother. To all intents and purposes these people have lost their lifeline with the world.

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so while the wages have only doubled the cost of a night out has at least tripled.thus its much more expensive now to have a night out that in the past.This obviously has a huge impact on the amount of times people go out.

Homeless speaketh the truth.

Everyone cannot see this miracle ecomony has no clothes. We are poorer - fact.

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Labour missed a MASSIVE opportunity with the smoking thing.

They could have introduced a raft of regulations about which buildings were/weren't allowed to have smoking on the premises, introduced a licence to allow smoking on the premises (renewable each year for a fee, obviously), designated a standard of air conditioning which had to be installed and inspected by the council once every 6 months (for a fee), designated cigarrette butts collected from commercial premises as some kind of hazardous waste for which you need a licence to store (for a fee) and dispose of (for a fee) with a council appointed licenced contractor (contracted for a fee, of course).

The blanket ban was just far too simple to ever be the idea of a labour government.

Welcome to the Labour Think Tank.

Great ideas there - don't forget all the forms that everyone has to fill in at each stage, and they must be kept for 2 years for inpectors to inspect every 6 months :blink:

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My best mate, who has worked in the licenced trade all of his life (including quite a lot of time working with Enterprise Inns, and the biggest of the lot, Punch Taverns), assures me that the smoking ban is what has killed the pubs.

Previous recessions have seen an increase in pub attendance, and the cost of beer has always been perceived to be high in my opinion. You could always buy cheaper beer at the supermarket, but people went to pubs because they wanted too. Now the people who bought the beer in great quantities feel like outcasts and although I'm not a smoker I don't blame them.

Drinking and smoking have always gone hand in hand, and whilst pubs these days are full of families, they don't drink to any great degree.

The pub trade died a generation ago - it's just that no-one in it wanted to face the fact that most of their business had abandoned them for a better spend of their leisure pound. A few smokers kept going to pubs but this couldn't really disguise the reality.

Pubs failed to maintain a cross-section of all people from most walks of life and in doing so sowed the seeds of their own demise. People who didn't want to drink in smokey pubs stopped going 20+ years ago because pubs didn't listen to them. Those who see a smoking ban as the death of the pub are clutching at straws, it will probably take another 20+ years and another generation to re-build the trade lost in the 80s and 90s. There's a lesson here - identify your customers' wants and adjust your business to meet that demand.

The failure of pubs is in the above, plus the crippling charges from breweries for overpriced beer and fantasy-land leasing charges.

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The pub trade died a generation ago - it's just that no-one in it wanted to face the fact that most of their business had abandoned them for a better spend of their leisure pound. A few smokers kept going to pubs but this couldn't really disguise the reality.

the pub trade is a victim of ideology,well meaning or not.

we have a government that believes in centralised,homogenised goo.The doctrine that people are automatons.

Sure they preach "diversity",but they don't practice it.

being gay is now more socially acceptable than being a smoker.

....anti smoking is just as much discrimination as anti homosexual,anti fat,anti black,anti disabled etc.

this government has an abysmal record on discrimination...just look at the poor folks at remploy.

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I was in Ibiza a couple of weeks ago and didn't come across any clubs. bars or restaurants where there weren't ash trays.

Edit: I've also been to a couple of clubs in the UK lately where some people were smoking inside and nothing was done about it, one of the clubs even told me to smoke on the dance floor when I tried to go out for a fag - felt very naughty and wrong.

The rule in spain is any building over 100 square meters and smoking is banned anything under is up to the owner

Very good system that lets adults make their own decisions.

Anti smokers wont agree cos their diks but why would they care if there are smoking pubs?

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I was in Ibiza a couple of weeks ago and didn't come across any clubs. bars or restaurants where there weren't ash trays.

Edit: I've also been to a couple of clubs in the UK lately where some people were smoking inside and nothing was done about it, one of the clubs even told me to smoke on the dance floor when I tried to go out for a fag - felt very naughty and wrong.

From what I understand in Spain, owners of businesses below a certain size have a choice to be smoking or non smoking, then the punter has the same choice.

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People who didn't want to drink in smokey pubs stopped going 20+ years ago because pubs didn't listen to them. Those who see a smoking ban as the death of the pub are clutching at straws, it will probably take another 20+ years and another generation to re-build the trade lost in the 80s and 90s.

The point has been made that demographic changes have slowly been killing the pub trade over the last 20 years. Pubs appealed to smokers and non-smokers who weren't bothered - they tend to put their own happiness and enjoyment over any health risk. IMO, the demographic change has been a diminishing of those types of people.

Remove the smokers, you also remove the non-smoking friends when they go out in packs. Pubs were adult venues. Now, they've got happy castles and beer & curry for £4.95. That's all well and good, but smokers and happy non-smokers will always spend more and more regularly than backpacking health freaks and families who can't be bothered to cook on a Sunday.

In the 70s, 80s and 90s, passive smoking was as widely ridiculed and disbelieved as it is now. However, for the precious bubble people, the "stink" of hair and clothes, which no-one seemed to notice even three years ago, justifies this business-destroying and community-raping illiberal ban when separate indoor areas could have solved the problem.

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I feel sorry for smokers. Not because of the ban, but because they are clearly so heavily addicted to smoking that it controls their lives.

Posts that say things like "the old timers no longer bother going to the pub for a chat, pint and a fag" simply prove that they are more interested in having a fag than they are a pint or to socialise.

Without wishing to stir up too much wrath against myself, I'm glad the ban came in. The "effects" of passive smoking weren't my main issue. The severely dry and sore eyes were, along with the stench.

However, there is something deeply wrong with banning a product that is perfectly legal. I even miss the Hamlet adverts. :-)

As another poster mentioned, the slump in beer sales isn't simply down to the smoking ban. The drinking culture has changed. How many people did you see drinking Champagne in pubs a decade ago? (Londoners exempt) You know full well they earn an average salary or less, but they think nothing of blowing £40 on a bottle of fizzy white wine. Same folk tend to be the annoying g1ts whose iphone rings every other minute.

How many pubs no longer have Pool tables or dart boards?

How many pubs no longer serve hand pulled?

How much has a round of drinks gone up by? I was cleared out in just one round recently. How can a bottle of p**$, er I mean Budweiser cost more than a pint of the same? Why would you prefer a bottle of it over a pint?

How many people find the idea of listening to the local bike and her 40 year old gran singing Leona Lewis at full blast, a form of torture.

Then there's the stupid law they brought in about playing music in pubs, especially regarding live music.

Christ I'm moaning now so I'll shut up and crack open another can of kestrel. (£6 for 8 tins down at Raj's offy)

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I feel sorry for smokers. Not because of the ban, but because they are clearly so heavily addicted to smoking that it controls their lives.

Smokers are some of the happiest, most chilled people I know. Same with a lot of non-smokers.

Smokers should not be felt sorry for because they have an addiction (which most give up within 20 years with no visible detriment to health). Non-smokers should not be felt sorry for because they didn't get the enjoyment out of an essentially harmless product that smokers did. We should live and let live - a sign of a tolerant and enlightened society, imo.

Smoking seems to be only harmful after decades of 30 or 40 years of smoking. Most smokers smoker for nowhere near that length of time.

Posts that say things like "the old timers no longer bother going to the pub for a chat, pint and a fag" simply prove that they are more interested in having a fag than they are a pint or to socialise.

Cigarettes and alcohol are the perfect marriage. I believe songs have been written about this glorious union.

Without wishing to stir up too much wrath against myself, I'm glad the ban came in. The "effects" of passive smoking weren't my main issue. The severely dry and sore eyes were, along with the stench.

However, there is something deeply wrong with banning a product that is perfectly legal. I even miss the Hamlet adverts. :-)

There appears to be quite a contradiction between those two paragraphs. However, I believe you are probably a chilled non-smoker who wouldn't mind separate areas.

Christ I'm moaning now so I'll shut up and crack open another can of kestrel. (£6 for 8 tins down at Raj's offy)

I wish I had some Smirnoff in the house. :(;)

PS. I really wish I had some Smirnoff after seeing your avatar. A bearded lesser Millard is the stuff of nightmares.

Edited by Pacific State
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I'm glad the ban came in. The "effects" of passive smoking weren't my main issue. The severely dry and sore eyes were, along with the stench.

Give me the names and addresses of these people that frogmarched you into these smoke filled dens of eniquity, and we'll 'sort it'

The logic of the concept of smoking and non smoking pubs seems to baffle all except people that smoke?

A classic case of the will of the minority dictating to the majority!

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I m shocked, you cannot let adults make decisions without approval from a goverment focus group to weigh it up first.

well that's the idea.Nanny state knows best.

...people don't want to be treated like toddlers.

the state loves it because it creates a kind of stockholm syndrome between the captor and the victim.

People really must wake up!!...WE control the state.

..if you don't get it,then we WILL end up the way of the eastern bloc.

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As far as I can see the government want 100 % control of people. Pubs and working mens club used to allow people to express their views on everyday matters and at the ballot box could act on there views/knoweledge these days many people dont understand the implecation of things the government implement. Im a massive anti smoking person due to my dad dying from a serious smoking related disease but I do believe in the freedom of speach/choice and believe that clubs/pubs should have been able to choose whether they were smoke free or not so people could choose where they went to drink in a smoking or non smoking pub/club

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As far as I can see the government want 100 % control of people. Pubs and working mens club used to allow people to express their views on everyday matters and at the ballot box could act on there views/knoweledge these days many people dont understand the implecation of things the government implement. Im a massive anti smoking person due to my dad dying from a serious smoking related disease but I do believe in the freedom of speach/choice and believe that clubs/pubs should have been able to choose whether they were smoke free or not so people could choose where they went to drink in a smoking or non smoking pub/club

I really do think the smoking ban was a watershed moment when New Labour surpassed itself; in addition to annoying smokers they actually annoyed a lot of non-smokers. Certainly your average mindless 'passive smoking kills' type was pleased but I've been surprised by the number of ordinary non-smokers very concerned about the ban because of concerns for personal freedom. There is simply no legitimate argument against seperate self contained, sealed and ventilated smoking areas

I realise also that pubs were having problems before the ban, but the ban was the final nail in the coffin, no pun intended. The result seems to be that pubs either close, or rebrand themselves into something along the lines of a national trust tearoom.

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The smoking ban is not peculiar to Nu Labour, it is world-wide. USA, Spain, Eire were all ahead of us on this one. As a non-smoker, I actually quite like it, because I can now wear the same clothes the day after going out.

I'm willing to concede the smoking ban has not helped matters for the bar/pub trade, however I still don't think it's the major factor. City-centre Newcastle and probably other major cities are special cases. They are so busy a certain percent drop off in trade still leaves it above the "critical mass" to give it some kind of atmosphere. So the drop-off in nightlife lagged behind smaller towns, and so appeared to coincide with the smoking ban.

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