Tuesday, December 07, 2010

I guarantee you know several pubs in your area that have closed forever in the last few years - and you know more where the 'management' has changed several times and you can't understand WHY they CANNOT make the pub work. This is a national thing - it's not just in London - pubs are closing at a phenomenal rate all over the UK. WHY?

The answer is THE BEER TIE. Most pubs in Britain are owned by Pubcos who rent pubs to individuals, selling them on a ticket of running a pub being an entrepreneurial leap out of 9-5 drudgery, a fantastic lifestyle change where the publican is their own boss backed by the strength of a working partnership with their landlords who are passionate about pubs - the Pubcos - who leave the publicans to sort out everything else while charging so much for rent and a so much more for beer that the publicans find themselves losing money and incapable of investing in their businesses - run down and dilapidated as they are.

You cannot fail to have noticed how many pubs are just old BOOZERS - run down, falling apart, neglected, stale, horribly depressing stinky old places stuck deeply in the past, along with their split Formica table tops and spongy, bursting at the seams, sticky bar stools. Ever wondered WHY there's so many pubs like that? Do you think the publicans who run these ghettos from the past are proud of the dreadful pall of failure they personally preside over? If YOU ran a pub would YOU let it get like that?

NO you wouldn't. So why do they - the professionals supposedly the last bastion, the custodians, of Britain's great cultural tradition of pus - the one thing that defines Britishness to the rest of the world - why do they stand behind their bars like pigs in shit watching their potential punters pass by as their businesses slide inexorably into ruin and bankruptcy?

Pubs close down because they are so unattractive to all but the most dispossessed - that's what they are like and customers - you and me - simply don't want to frequent such grim dismal places and drink beer that tastes like blech.

Read this:

It's a typical example of the irrational, unsustainable behaviour of the various corporations who lease pubs to thousands of 'tied' lessees across the UK and how they behave toward the people who make their fortunes. It is a national disgrace and a national scandal that is almost completely unrecognised outside the pub industry.

Then watch this Inside Out programme from November 2009. It's a very well put together assessment of the tied pub sector in very accessible form.

Scroll down the the bottom of the link page, it's the third video box with the head of a pint showing. Shankha, the journalist covering the article really got what is happening in the tied pub sector. IN the end it's a fascinating piece of good journalism swamped in a sea of celebrity this and stars in their eyes that and just gets buried at the bottom of an archive page. What it describes is the dreadful psychotic behaviour of big corporations who have ruined a significant part of Britain's heritage and tradition. It's a national disgrace.

If you've read this far and want to do something about it - out of a sense of indignant righteousness and a desire for fairness - email me at and let's take it from there.

Tell me about pubs you know which should never have closed
Tell me about pubs you know where the publicans live in fear of their pubcos
And so on... go on I dare you

PS I'm one of the founders of the Fair Pint Campaign and that is because I own the lease on my tied pub The Sun and Doves in Camberwell. I've seen too many people screwed by the pub industry's inequities and I'm one of them!

Best wishes


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