Both The Morning Advertiser and The Publican publish a view from Douglas Jack of Numis (no, I don't know who they are either), who alleges that removing the tie would reduce pub product range, investment, support and supply, driving up prices as a result. He goes on to give a few reasons for this by saying that CAMRA’s claim that the beer tie had inflated price to the consumer by 50p a pint was “fictitious”. He said that the average beer price across Punch and Enterprise pubs at 30 September was £2.62 a pint — 3% above the average of £2.54 a pint. The average free trade price was £2.56. He reckon's that Punch and Enterprise’s average beer price is also below the average in the tenanted sector of £2.73 “reflecting higher purchasing power that is passed on to tenants through investment and support”.
Now I'm always a little suspicious of figures trotted out these days, but I'm sure it will come as somewhat of a shock to most Enterprise and Punch tenants to know they are benefiting in such a way. Maybe Enterprise and Punch do stay competitive on price, but as we've read before, it seems to be at the expense of their licensees who work hugely long hours for little reward. Rather than the commonly held view that the lion's share of the money taken by a pub going to the PubCo, it seems according to Jack that everything in the garden is rosy. He also ignores that whatever changes the PubCos have made have been forced on them by public scrutiny, not by their own heartfelt conversion to the shining path.
I 'm getting to the stage where I no longer know what to believe, but I'll leave you with this thought. I am (reliably) told that The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) sell their beers to Enterprise for £55 a nine. They sell them to their tenants for £90 a pop. God knows what discounts they screw out of the bigger brewers. Of course you could choose to believe that the benefit of this "higher purchasing power" goes to "investment and support" as Mr Jack seemingly does, or you could take the view that it services the huge debt created by a dodgy business model. Wonder which it is?
CAMRA may well get it wrong, but City analysts don't always get it right either.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
This blog mentions specifics; pubs and beer, good and bad. The opinions will be forthright, but you can always disagree, just don't be offended. Comments from those mentioned are particularly welcome and a right of reply is hereby offered.
Read my information and links and then decide for yourself. You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes.
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