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The Price Of A Pint

 
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Lord Evan Elpuss



Joined: 10 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 2:14 pm    Post subject: The Price Of A Pint Reply with quote

Is anyone else worried about how many pubs are closing down? The price of a pint must be a factor in this sorry state (it's becoming extortionate in my locality) but that's mostly out of the landlord / lady's control. The brewery / government probably have most say in this. Anyway, I was sent this petition and thought I'd post the link in case anyone else feels the same as me: http://www.camra.org.uk/beertaxpetition I think the petition is one of those that triggers a debate in the house of commons if it reaches 100,000 signatures.
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The pubs within reasonable walking distance of where we live in Milton Keynes get packed at weekends and are never empty at any time. The ones that have been bought out of the control of major brands are doing the best.

We're currently in West Norfolk (up the coast from King's Lynn) and the good pubs here are always busy, whereas the ones that offer very little in the way or product quality or customer service aren't doing as well.

As someone who loves a pint of decent English Ale or three, I am concerned at the high prices at the bar, but I don't think that this is the main cause of closure of many pubs.
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ruddlescat



Joined: 16 Sep 2010
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Location: Near Chester

PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a man who takes a great interest in all things connected with pubs and real ale I think the problem of pub closures is more a symptom of the sick and disjointed society in which we live today

People are only interested in themselves and their immediate families whereas pubs have traditionally been seen as places where the local communities could meet each other and socialise over the odd pint or two or a few whiskies or a nice bottle of wine and interact with each other - but people don't seem to want to interact any more for reasons which I fail to understand

The closure of pubs is because of the lack of community spirit these days although I suppose the fact that beer at supermarkets is cheap and conveniently available certainly does not help Sad
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Angela W



Joined: 11 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have no pubs within walking distance and my o/h wouldn't want to drive. I don't drink and can't drive which he always says is a waste! Laughing
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ruddlescat wrote:
As a man who takes a great interest in all things connected with pubs and real ale I think the problem of pub closures is more a symptom of the sick and disjointed society in which we live today


I don't think is has anything to do with a so-called "sick and disjointed society"; it merely reflects a change in lifestyle for many people.

The problem with many traditional pubs in recent decades is their attitude to exist; they don't. And neither do they have a right to my money. I have the right to spend my money as I choose - and where pubs are concerned that means that I'll spend it where I'm going to get good service and obviously a good product offer, whether that's food or drink (or both).

Sadly, many pubs have failed on both counts and that's why they lose business.

In the early 80s I worked in the Retail Training Division of Chef & Brewer when it was attached to Watney, Truman Brewers and owned by Grand Metropolitan. The underlying training message to pub managers was (and still is) that you don't choose your customers, they choose you. So if you want their business you have to work for it and satisfy the customer's needs.

That's not a symptom of a "sick and disjointed society" - it's just one of the basics of business. If a pub is forced out of business due to lack of turnover and profit, that's because of a lack of customers. And a lack of customers indicates an unwillingness on the part of people to visit the establishment and spend either hang on to their money or spend it elsewhere. Simple.
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ruddlescat



Joined: 16 Sep 2010
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Location: Near Chester

PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry but I don't entirely agree with you Colin

Just think about it - there have always been good well run pubs and some badly run ones which are just not interested in customer service so why is it that at the present time twenty pubs are closing every week

You can't simply say it's down to bad customer service otherwise on your argument we would have had a situation where twenty pubs per week would have been closing for the last forty years which is simply not the case - this is a recent problem and it's down to much more than bad customer service - it's more likely to be as a result of changes in the great British public's lifestyle choices which is what I said in the first place Smile
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Toggy



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We rather buck the trend where I live, we have 5 pubs in our village all of which appear to be doing well. 3 are owned by breweries but interestingly the other 2 are free houses.
Venture further into Cambridge though and it's a very different story, barely a week goes by without there being news of yet another closure.
I think it's very sad, I don't drink much but I like the atmosphere of a pub.

I think there are many factors behind so many closures, the low price of supermarket drink and certain breweries setting impossible targets being a couple of them. I don't think the smoking ban has helped much either but I don't think that is one of the main factors.
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Lord Evan Elpuss



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I still think the last few governments (of both parties) must also shoulder some of the blame. Very few times have they left beer, wines & spirits alone in their various budgets. Anyone remember the 'booze cruises' to French hypermarkets in the 1980s/90s? The tory governments of those times never did anything to harmonise UK prices with the near continent, thereby taking away the incentive to take those large vans across the channel. Or, in later times, those posters showing a picture of then chancellor Alistair Darling behind bars with the word 'Barred' underneath. As I recall neither party has ever been very friendly to the licenced trade. On the few occasions that beer duty wasn't touched by the government of the day, brewerys put their own hike on prices, and, those same brewerys 'screw' their own tenants by charging them higher prices, than they do for the same beer to 'free' trade customers. I don't really hold with the idea that drinking at home is solely responsible. The two have always co-existed, I drink beer at home, and have always done so, I've even home brewed beer! But I have always enjoyed going to pubs, and still do. Here's a direct link to that petition, should anyone wish to sign it: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/29664/?friendly_id=saveyourpint
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ruddlescat wrote:
it's down to much more than bad customer service - it's more likely to be as a result of changes in the great British public's lifestyle choices which is what I said in the first place Smile


Yes, but you are the one attributing the problem to a "sick and disjointed society", not me. I attribute it to market forces. After all, we do live in a free market economy and people have the right to spend their money where they like. A pub has no more right to a person's money than does my business. If my business suffers a drop in turnover, with customers taking their business elsewhere, do I have a justifiable excuse when claiming that the demise of my business were attributable to today's "sick and disjointed society"?.

I'd be an idiot if I thought that. Thankfully, I know who's the most important person in my business is - and it's not me, it's the customer.

The simple fact is that lifestyles and lifestyle trends change over time, and nobody can change that. If a pub closes, it closes for a reason - just like a flourishing pub business is so for a reason.
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ruddlescat



Joined: 16 Sep 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry but I still think you're missing the point Colin

In the Sixties and Seventies there were many dreadful pubs around as we probably both remember but the fact is that the level of pub closures then was miniscule compared to the situation now

Most pubs have got a great deal better since those days so why is it that the rate of closure in 2012 is probably 1000% higher than it was in say 1972 - forty years ago

That simply cannot be down to customer choice - it's probably down to a whole host of things like pub rents, drinking and driving problems, and cheap supermarket alcohol to mention but a few- but I still think a lot of it has to be as a result of the current generation's reluctance to socialise and get involved with anyone outside their own 'comfort zone'

I would have thought that as you claim to be a Socialist you would have been the first to take the point about social cohesion I am raising (or rather lack of it in current society Sad ) and it really shouldn't have to be down to someone like me to have to point out the perfectly obvious Shocked
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ruddlescat wrote:
I'm sorry but I still think you're missing the point Colin


I don't think I am. My point is that whatever happens.... happens.

ruddlescat wrote:
In the Sixties and Seventies there were many dreadful pubs around as we probably both remember but the fact is that the level of pub closures then was miniscule compared to the situation now


Yes, but all of us (not just younger people) have many more choices now, so why should pubs be singled out for special treatment or support?

ruddlescat wrote:
That simply cannot be down to customer choice - it's probably down to a whole host of things like pub rents, drinking and driving problems, and cheap supermarket alcohol to mention but a few- but I still think a lot of it has to be as a result of the current generation's reluctance to socialise and get involved with anyone outside their own 'comfort zone'


My son is 28, has a good career (as an R&D engineering technician) and his friends are all professional people. They have a bit of disposable income which they spend in any number of ways - one of which is to go to one of a few local pubs and drink good beers while watching a band. But their choices are much greater than ever mine were. Whose fault is that? Is it anybody's fault? They certainly don't display a reluctance to socialise and get involved with anyone outside their own comfort zone. I envy my son's social life!

ruddlescat wrote:
I would have thought that as you claim to be a Socialist you would have been the first to take the point about social cohesion I am raising (or rather lack of it in current society Sad ) and it really shouldn't have to be down to someone like me to have to point out the perfectly obvious Shocked


I wouldn't say I'm a socialist, more a "liberal social democrat". After all, I own my own Limited company which has to make a profit in order to return LloydsTSB to profitability.

I'm very much in favour of encouraging and fostering social cohesion; over the last few years I've put a helluva lot of time helping to establish and support a local charity that helps young people to realise their best potential of and succeed at whatever it is they want to achieve. The picture you paint of "the current generation" isn't one that I recognise, to be honest. However, I still don't see why under-performing pubs are a special case when it comes to propping up businesses that are simply unsustainable. My business doesn't have such a privileged status, after all.

Of course, taxes are high and I recognise that the products traditionally offered within pubs have been hit hard by government policies; the ban on smoking inside pubs and restaurants has also hit many establishments - but I can show you a good few that have benefitted by these impositions, too. So the availability of low-cost alcoholic products in supermarkets may have hit pubs but, again, so what? The question still remains: who has a right to my money? Answer - nobody.
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ruddlescat



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm glad to hear that your son enjoys a trip to the pub and drinks decent high quality beers Colin Very Happy

But one has to ask the question as to whether he is typical of that generation

Many people of that age in my experience simply don't have that kind of discerning attitude which explains why we have so many problems in our towns and cities on Friday and Saturday nights

In the sixties and early seventies we used to have a lot of mediocre pubs serving poor quality beer but people still supported those pubs even though they probably realised they were bad quite simply because they felt the need (and possibly even the obligation) to socialise and in those days the local pub along with the local church and local post office were the places where that kind of social interaction happened

Today society is so disjointed with a complete lack of any social cohesion that it's hardly surprising that local pubs just like local churches and post offices are seen as no longer being of any importance and to me that's a very sad situation Sad
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ruddlescat wrote:
Today society is so disjointed with a complete lack of any social cohesion..........



I can only re-iterate that I disagree that it's a "complete" lack of social cohesion. Lots of good things are happening with younger people and many of them are being demonised.

ruddlescat wrote:
....that it's hardly surprising that local pubs just like local churches and post offices are seen as no longer being of any importance and to me that's a very sad situation Sad


You may well consider it to be a sad situation but the simple fact remains that people themselves have the power to ensure the survival of these social entities - by continuing to use them. Unfortunately, they seem not to be. So what does that tell us? It tells us that their role in today's society is different to what it was in the past.
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

By the way, I was in West Norfolk again over the last few days and in a local pub I had a pint of Thwaites' "Lancaster Bomber" ale. And very nice it was too!

See here for info: http://goo.gl/9LUjh


Last edited by ColinB on Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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ruddlescat



Joined: 16 Sep 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No Colin - it tells us that most people's attitudes have changed for whatever reason so they no longer regard the things which have been regarded as important for many generations as any longer significant

It's not the institutions which have changed but the public attitude mainly as a result of the actions of and brainwashing by politically correct liberal dogooders Mad

Most Thwaites Beers are pretty good but it's certainly a long way from home in West Norfolk Smile
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ruddlescat wrote:
No Colin - it tells us that most people's attitudes have changed for whatever reason so they no longer regard the things which have been regarded as important for many generations as any longer significant


Yes, maybe, but whose fault is that? Is it not part of the natural evolutionary process? Society and social values change all the time.

ruddlescat wrote:
It's not the institutions which have changed but the public attitude mainly as a result of the actions of and brainwashing by politically correct liberal dogooders Mad


I don't actually agree with your last line. You could apply that attitude to the banning of smoking tobacco in confined public spaces (for instance), but I would argue that such a change was long overdue in a so-called civilised society. Liberal do-gooders? Not in that case.
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ruddlescat



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree on your point about smoking quite simply because passive smoking harms people who choose not to smoke and quite apart from that it's anti social and unpleasant

But you can't really compare that with the situation where people have been brainwashed into shunning all kind of order in our society believing that they can do exactly as they choose - or perhaps even as the establishment currently likes

I am not really a very religious person but I do strongly believe that the agenda to demonise and ultimately eradicate all forms of the Christian religion in this country in favour of the current so called 'multicultural society' has a very great deal to do with the reason why society today has almost irretrievably broken down - far too much fragmentation and too little order in my view Sad
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Lord Evan Elpuss



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The petition has reached the required 100,000 names to trigger a parliamentary debate in the house. Next stage is lobbying MPs. I assume this is nationwide: http://www.saveyourpintlobby.org.uk/#
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