I am halfway through reading the report on the Community Pub produced as a result of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group Inquiry. It makes interesting, if difficult reading.
It can be found here. I think it is excellent and should help the industry - but don't let the government ignore it. It's been published for a couple of weeks and despite having talked to somebody who is very closely involved and reading the trade press as much as time allows, it only came to my attention today. (Probably partly my fault - but I still should have seen it in the trade press or on a blog or something - wake up guys!!)
It discusses the many and varied problems facing the smaller pub business. It includes of course the two major ones often cited:
1. Smoking Ban
2. Cheap supermarket drink
It also lists a whole range of other factors including:
1. Cheap, high quality home entertainment (reading blogs for example!)
2. Rafts and rafts of legislation (boy do I know it)
3. Beer duty increase(27%) is greater than spirits(3%) and wine(16%) (spirits surely are more of an alcohol problem)
4. Overzealous legislation enforcers - the council normally
5. Unfair rating system
6. Rising labour costs (minimum wage and employment rights effects)
And many more.
There will be more on this here - but if you think cheap supermarket booze and the smoking ban are the main issues, read the report and think again.
I believe if the consumer focuses only on the two big issues, because they are the ones that the consumer cares about, pubs will still close at an alarming rate because we miss the point.