Sunday, 26 July 2009


This weekend I'm out in the Midlands, mostly bumbling round a railway museum, but also scooting about the local towns and villages in my wee car so my chums can sample the local ales.

Its kind of terrifying the number of pubs that have closed since last year. Between Ripley and Swanick I could five out of eight pubs are boarded up or for sale.

How did we come to this?

Pubs are going the same way as petrol stations. So many abandoned and derelict sites at the side of the road. The overhead canopy slowly rotting, company branding removed, leaving just shadows. Aye, petrol=bad, its an evil fossil fuel poisoning our environment. But each of these derelict petrol stations used to employ half a dozen people, their livelihoods, a pint of milk in the middle of the night, and now they're no more.

Pubs are going the same way. Buildings to be explained away to children as something that there used to be more of.

Like the way kids don't quite understand how there used to be a butchers on every high street (replaced centralised distribution in supermarkets) or record shops in every town (replaced by transient digital media). But with pubs it hasn't been techology or distribution that closed them, just legislation and taxes.


  1. There is a common threat to pubs and petrol stations -supermarkets. My local has badly served ale at £3.80 a pint, my tescos has a selection of bottle conditioned ales at £1.80 a pint. When the economy is in the tank, this must contribute to pub deaths.

  2. Smoking ban and taxation .. .. .. when the VAT cut happened the alcohol duty increased to raise the price of a pint. When the VAT goes back on again the duty won't be reduced .. .. ..

    Bad pubs giving bad service and bad beer used to close down and be replaced by a better landlord who tried a different approach. Now they just close.

    Supermarkets being able to significantly undercut the price of a pint is a factor, as is the increased choice and availability of the bottle conditioned real ale (I remember the day when the choice was John Smiths, Bass, Ruddles County or Supermaket own brand).

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