So, the Chancellor, having discovered the Magic Money Tree, gave it another shake yesterday. I'll pass on some of the stuff, but what did he do for pubs? Well, at first glance, quite a lot. Quite a lot that is for food led or mixed chains; offering VAT reductions and subsidised dining out. The big companies will be pleased, but what of the rest? The sort of pubs that just sell beer, got nothing - or to be fair - nothing additional over what had been announced. Is this a surprise? Probably not.
Already the pubs that are most likely to close are the small, traditional, beer forward pubs, that not just us old codgers like, but are favoured by locals. The mid-terrace or street corner small boozer. The sort of pub where if you go, everybody probably knows you. I think the word used most often for them is "community pubs". Yes community. A word that is, to this writer at least, important. Many of these haven't yet opened up again despite restrictions being lifted. With social distancing, it just isn't worth it for them. Reduced capacity isn't much good to pubs that already are pretty small indeed, despite the reasons for restrictions being both understandable and understood.
I could go on and on about this, but I think it is pretty well covered here by the Campaign for Pubs and here by the Campaign for Real Ale, who say much the same thing, but with commendable brevity. Would it have hurt that much to allow those pubs that only got the £10,000 grant to have been given a cut in VAT for, say, six months. In the great scheme of things, probably not and it would certainly have saved some community locals which are otherwise doomed to immediate closure or a slow, lingering death. Now of course, government subsidising pubs is in itself novel, but only to subsidise those that already have the best chance of survival, seems shall we say hard to justify?
Or do you take the view that the shake out in pubs is just a consequence of something beyond everyone's control and just tough?
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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. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
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.
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