Sunday, April 15, 2012

Death of the pub?

'Mourners' pay visit to 23 axed Cambridge pubs

Almost a quarter of pubs closed in last 5yrs. Due to changes in social behaviour? - Probably. Influenced by large/quick returns through property development? - Most likely. This can't just be happening in Cambridge. Is this profiteering at the cost of society (Something bankers and gov't do well). Or just picking up the pieces of a dying tradition?

Posted by markj69 str05 @ 03:17 PM (1472 views)
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9 thoughts on “Death of the pub?

  • general congreve says:

    Multiple TV channels, playstation, the internet, more choice of other entertainment venues like nightclubs, punitive taxes on beer and let’s not forget, our old friend inflation:

    If you were paying £40 a week to fill the car 3 years ago, you’re now paying £60. All things being equal, which they’re not because everything else has also risen faster than pay in that time frame, including beer, but let’s just pretend they are, then that’s £20 that may have been spent in the pub come the weekend that is now going to line some banksta’s pocket instead.

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  • This isnt unique to Cambridge – pubs were closing across the country at the rate of 50 per week but this has now slowed to approximately 20 per week (wife works in wines and spirits trade). A number of factors for this including (a) smoking ban (b) price (c) socialising via facebook.

    I was out recently with a couple of guy’s I’ve been socialising with for roughly the past 30 years (old git that I am) when one of them says “so how much longer are we going to continue doing this? – it’s getting very expensive” We buy bottled beers which at the start of the night sets us back £10.50 for 3 x 275mls which equals roughly £7.00 per pint. So over Easter I headed to the supermarket where I bought 45 bottles for £20 and headed to my mates house picking the indian takeaway up on the way and then settled down to a feast of food and HD TV football. This is one of the main reasons pubs are closing.

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  • Smoking ban.

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  • How important is the smoking ban? I was in Sydney in the late ’90s talking to people who ran the betting office business in NSW (set up by the racing industry to fund itself rather than by bookmakers). Each office manager (compensated according to turnover in his/her office) had the choice to allow smoking or not. After a while the consensus that any loss of customers was slightly more than compensated for by the gaining those customers who preferred smoke-free shops. In the end all the betting offices became smoke free.

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  • “gaining OF those customers”

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  • As a point of interest when I was on holiday in Ireland the pub trade was practically booming compared to the UK. Me and the other half was shocked at how busy the pubs in Wexford were. The only locality in Kent I know that bust would have to be Maidstone.
    Cork & Galway and Athlone city centers were also very busy with a good atmosphere. I think that it might have something to do with the way the Irish have implemented the smoking ban – much better IMO. (not that I smoke)

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  • Could it be something to do with enexorable rise in taxes? Beer, wine and spirits duty’s keep rising and, VAT is another killer.

    Combine that with the inflation tax: http://www.mises.org/story/2914

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  • There are a number of fators at play here, and the smoking ban is only one of them. Here are a couple:

    1) tied leases – the pubco’s set high rents and artificially high wholesale beer prices. If it were in any other industry it would be considered a restrictive practice and banned. It is next to impossible to make a good living out of a pub and most of these that go under are not free houses. Also, cash-strapped pubco’s do not invest in the more marginal pubs, so they get worn out and less attractive over time. This tends to hit the neighbourhood pubs, while the high street bars are always being done up.

    2) property prices – the rise in property prices means that a substantial number of pubs have a high value being sold now and converted into flats. The pubco’s are happy to sell them off to reduce debt or invest in more profitable venues. This does not mean that the pubs were unprofitable – many of those being closed were running at a substantial profit, but the pubco is free to sell the freehold to a property developer who does not renew the landlord’s lease.

    An example of this is The Castle, in Battersea, London – copy the following into Google for a link to the news artcile:

    ” Battersea pub owners shut down local in “revenge” for campaign “

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    Mainly the smoking ban. Problem is, once people discover the joys of doing like Jack C above, they realise that they don’t really need pubs.

    And VAT hikes hit pubs far harder than beer duty hikes – if anything, pubs would benefit, relative to supermarkets, if VAT were reduced and beer tax increased.

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