Monday, 23 February 2009

Send in the clowns

Pete Robinson is back with a pretty scathing attack on CAMRA over its stance on the smoking ban here in The Publican.

At the time Mike Benner (CAMRA Chief Executive) said: "This survey shows that non-smokers will be attracted to pubs after the ban comes into force", adding: "The key will be to ensure that other factors such as quality of real ale, food, atmosphere and welcome are all superb.

If this is the case then the traditional Community Pub will have a bright and healthy future."
Now that really happened, didn’t it? The widely-held belief that the smoking ban would bring large numbers of new customers into pubs must qualify as one of the biggest mass delusions of the 21st Century.


  1. Good article wasn't it? He is correct in so many areas too.

    I was invited to a 'round-table' discussion on Wednesday but declined a fortnight ago as CAMRA were chairing it.

    That may sound harsh but until they realise the threat they are faced with, it's not worth wetting the powder.

  2. Seems Mike had a proviso. He said

    "The key will be to ensure that other factors such as quality of real ale, food, atmosphere and welcome are all superb."

    Sadly that has not yet improved enough in so many places. These aspects, like smoking, are still too firmly rooted in the past.

  3. Many would also say beer drinking in pubs, except when dining, is something rooted in the past too ;-)

    Mike Benner's comments really were a bit pie-in-the-sky. There are always going to be good, average and bad pubs, and even if every pub could manage to raise its game it is doubtful to what extent it would affect the overall level of trade. The relative quality of pubs only affects the distribution of trade between pubs. In the 1970s, pubs were far busier than they are now even though in many ways the objective standard of beer, service, food etc was worse. And it doesn't matter how good a pub is if the law forces it to treat half its customers as outcasts.

  4. Which probably and sadly goes to show that you need to compete in the pub game to survive. Hard earned isn't going to be squandered in a dump. Maybe the shake out is needed.

    It is dog eat dog out there, so eat or be eaten?


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