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Struggling pubs at risk as beer sales slide

Posted on - 6th February, 2011 - 12:03pm | Author - | Posted in - Campaigns, Food & Drink, News, Opinion, Photos, Preston Guild, Pubs, Things To Do

John Smith has resorted to brewing his own ale, especially for the 2012 Guild

Pulling the perfect pint may soon be a lost art if beer sales continue to slide.

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The humble pub is losing out to supermarkets who can sell booze cheaply and according to experts at the British Beer and Pub Association, overall beer sales fell by four per cent in 2010.

Beer sales in pubs have dropped by more than seven per cent, yet supermarket sales have increased by around one per cent.

Real ale fanatic and brewer John Smith agrees that there has been a decline, stating: “Without a doubt, the pubs are struggling.”

Lisa Rowlands, general manager at The Continental pub, agrees. “Yes, pubs are struggling and you have to do more to get customers to come in.”

She says inns will struggle to stay open: “People don’t go out as much as they used to, partly because they don’t have the money and partly because it’s cheaper to stay in.”

“The local pubs have a big problem if they’re relying only on drinking, because most people buy from the supermarkets.”

It is not just changing life styles that are impacting business, the new minimum price on alcohol has affected Mr Smith’s trade as well.

“It would be great if they stopped all this cheap beer for the supermarkets,” he added.

‘Big problem’

Another reason pubs are struggling is because of poor quality beer, which is keeping keen beer drinkers away.

Even a seasoned aficionado like Mr Smith has turned to drinking wine, and jokes that cheap beer is keeping him out of the pubs.

His brewery has already made a special beer for the Guild 2012 and now he’s set his sights for the mass market. He said: “Our aim is to make a lager so we can get the lager louts onto our beer.”

This is something that he hopes will encourage younger people to get interested in real ales and carry on the tradition of ale drinking in the future.

So what does master brewer Mr Smith recommend pubs do to get the punters in?

“Buy quality beer and it will only take you a day to sell it.”

Are pubs and a proper pint a thing of the past? Is a trip to your local still part of your routine? Let us know in the comments below.

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