Monday 9 August 2010

More hard truths

Sorry to disappoint those who have been calling for a bit more sweetness and light on this blog, but the table below from The Publican showing quarterly on-trade beer sales since the beginning of 1997 (in ’000s of bulk barrels) gives precious little ground for optimism. Compared with the same quarter the year before, sales have not risen in a single quarter for thirteen years. So I doubt whether John Clarke is going to be able to take me up any day soon on my offer to buy him a skinful of beer if any future quarterly sales figures show annual growth.

In 1997, total sales were 25.6 million barrels, but for the year from July 2009 to June 2010 they were down to 14.8 million, a fall of 42.1%. The biggest single fall was 10.6% between April-June 2007 – the last quarter before the implementation of the smoking ban – and the same quarter in 2008. July 2007 to June 2008 was 8.3% below the preceding 12 months, and the most recent 12 months continue to show a 6.0% fall. The lowest year-on-year fall since the smoking ban has been 4.5%.

This is not doom-mongering: it is pointing out a hard truth that supporters of pubs need to face up to. While obviously there are some pubs here and there doing well, being honest, for the trade as a whole there is nothing to suggest that things are going to turn around in the foreseeable future.


  1. I was listening to Ken Livingston earlier today, he has just started a campaign to save London Pubs.
    He reckons the fault lays with the pub companies not allowing the tenants/managers sourcing the booze for themselves and being forced to pay higher prices.
    Of course, no mention of the smoking ban.
    On a personal note, my closest pub sells a pint about 40p more expensive than most other pubs (£3.65 for Guinness)in the vicinity. Another memory I have of it was last winter when I sat and drank a pint whilst wearing a long sleeved T shirt, very thick fleece, waterproof/windproof jacket and hat and I was bloody freezing. Some pubs deserve to die.

  2. Hi PC I hope you are well.

    Like the Praying Mantis I am ready to pounce. Post smoking ban the figures do rachet up.

    Also I managed to get hold of pub closures from 1980 to 2010 from the BBPA and it makes grim reading. From 1980 to 2006 the average per centage % of closures per year was 0.6764%. Post ban 2007 to 2010 it was 2.775%.

    If you apply the 0.6764% reduction to 56,791 pubs in 2007 then 381 pubs should of closed but 1409 did.

    This means that (381/1409) 72.74% of the pubs that closed in 2007 can be attributed to the smoking ban. 2010 76.01%.

    The worst % pre ban is 2001 at 2.05% and with an average of 2.775% post ban it seems that pubs are in a perpetual chronic recession.

    I am hoping my paper can be published by a reputable organisation such as the IEA, Taxpayers Alliance or the Adam Smith Institute and a few more politicians may wake up.

  3. Politicians don't 'do' pubs you numpties.

    They do bars. Restaurant ones, hotel ones, lounges and pedo brothels ones.

    Anything else is for plebs and to be taxed until the pips squeeze. Cause tax and tips and all that jazz just keeps out the riff raff with their nonexistent expenses accounts and lust for crap lager and peanuts.

  4. So... there's almost half the beer sold (in pubs) that there was 13 years ago, but there's still a drinking problem. Looks like pubs aren't to blame then...

  5. On the mark items from Mudgie.
    Dave A and other realists.

    Only problem is, the truth is
    not readily available to the vast majority. Lies ,half truths and
    deceptions prevail on the main media headlines
    IF and its a big If the 20 or so
    outspoken anti ban blog and web sites could for once muscle their
    hard hitting contents ,condensed into a single newsheet,maybe monthly,which could be E-Mailed and downloaded for printing,more
    could be made aware of the true facts. It should not be to difficult, the ability is there ,
    just needs the will.

    Web&Street Operative

  6. No single quarterly growth in nearly 13 years? I've met John Clarke, he's a nice guy, let's hope he gets his skinful soon, statistics must work in his favour sometime, deviation and all that, eh?


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