The Morning Advertiser reports on Frazer Grimbleby (surely a character from an Ealing comedy) of Craft Union Pub Company talking about the resurgence of wet-led pubs. It would be good if that were true, but to be honest I see precious little evidence of it. It’s more like a case of old friends steadily dropping off one by one. Maybe a more honest narrative would be to say that some wet-led pubs were proving resilient to the long-term market decline.
However, he then goes on to make the jawdropping statement that “The smoking ban is the best thing that ever happened to the pub industry”. Presumably the huge tide of post-2007 pub closures has passed him by, and he is totally indifferent to the customers who have been forever alienated. I was tempted to make a Ken Livingstone-esque comment but, deciding that would be in bad taste, I’ll content myself with saying that it is akin to claiming that Christmas is the best thing that has ever happened to turkeys.
Again, honesty would result in something more like “the smoking ban has posed serious challenges for the industry, and we have had to work hard to salvage something from the wreckage.” And, if he is so cloth-eared to what has happened in his own industry, you have to fear for the future of the pubs his company runs.