Friday, 15 October 2010

Trust and Distrust

I'm always interested in anything that affects the pub trade and its ability to work well within the financial constraints currently facing their businesses. PubCos are often a target of my scorn and in some ways this article is no different. For many tenants, already dealing with high rents and expensive beer, as well as restrictions on choice, there is the added burden of beer dispense measuring equipment, mostly supplied by a firm called Brulines.

The publicans' views are fairly straightforward; the equipment is inaccurate and additionally, fails to take into account liquid used to clean lines, as well as unsaleable cask beer and results in accusations of buying out, with resultant fines and general unpleasantness. Brulines say it is accurate, but have up till now refused to have it officially tested by the state owned National Measurement Office (NMO). Now they will, but under conditions that aren't being released. In a Morning Advertiser article, Simon Clarke who campaigns against the device says "One would think, if a company had confidence in the accuracy of its products, that it would engage the NMO and require a full and public testing of the equipment. Secret testing to be paid for by the very company seeking the endorsement in itself fuels the fire of suspicion that this is nothing more than an attempt to enable manipulation of the testing conclusions into a positive spin."

Now I have no real idea of the rights and wrongs of this, but it is important though, as we are talking, according Clarke, about big bucks. But what we do undoubtedly see is yet another example of how PubCos, either by intent or incompetence, make life difficult for their tenants, rub them up the wrong way and more importantly, clearly illustrate the sheer lack of trust that exists between the two parties. As pubs close and customers revert to home drinking in droves, you can't see how this can have a positive outcome for either side. It's all a bit, you know, undignified.

The trade is littered with such unwholesome and divisive stories and none of them make it look at all good.

The Morning Advertiser has the story in all its gory detail here.

1 comment:

Neville Grundy said...

It must be by intent, although PubCo incompetence is not in doubt. A licensee has described to me the deficiencies of the Bruline system in much the same way as you have, so I've no doubt the PubCos are fully aware of them too. It's just another ruse to squeeze every penny from hard-pressed licensees.