The title here is the opening question used by Mike Zeller of BBC Radio Cumbria this morning as he opened his piece on the question of prices in the centre of the Lake District compared to some town centre pubs. His point is that generally prices of beer in tourist locations are more than in city centres.
You can hear a recording of it here.
There does seem to be a confusion between towns and cities. And of course, sweeping generalisations abound.
It seems Radio Cumbria like to call me in to fill a few minutes. Never short of an opinion, and happy to get my brewery a free mention, it's a good exchange between me and the local radio station.
They always phone me up the afternoon before, give me a little gist of the subject, and I have a little think about what I might say.
This time I was determined to get across the point that buying beer in a pub is about a lot more than just buying beer. You are buying a service, renting a part of the pub for the time you are there. Possibly sharing your sorrows with the barman. Perhaps pushing your luck with the pretty young barmaid, who really doesn't need to be flirted with by some bloke who she'd not even tolerate outside her job.
We complain about pubs closing. Far too many are closing, it is claimed. And then, we complain about beer in pubs being too expensive.
Now, I understand about PubCo's. I understand about the smoking ban. I understand about beer duty. These are all undoubtedly influences on the pub's fate.
However, I'm pleased I managed to get in a key point at the end: if people don't value pubs enough to buy beer in them they will die, commercial fact.