Thursday, 20 November 2008

8/10 for CAMRA

Mike Benner, the chief executive of CAMRA has written to the Chancellor asking him to consider some important points. There is a press realise on the CAMRA site. This is also reported by The Morning Advertiser.

This clearly comes in the wake of the excellent Community Pub Inquiry report. Although this report is grand it will not work to simply give politicians recommendations. They will only act if they think it improves their vote. So we need to show the government that we care about the findings. We need to gain the support of the popular opinion.

CAMRA is doing the right thing in starting to publicise the issues contained within the report. My only complaint is that it's not enough yet and it's happening too slowly. However, it's the right move.

Looking at the responses to the Morning Advertiser article is interesting though. The ferocity of the attacks on CAMRA and the tied system are alarming. From the CAMRA perspective I rather think that this is a little like a pupil who has done his best piece of work to date, only to be told off by teacher for a few spelling mistakes.

It does also show just how hated the tied system is, mainly by licensees, but still, CAMRA perhaps does need to think about this.


Tandleman said...

It isn't really the tie as such, but the tie as applied by giant PubCos. CAMRA needs to hammer them more. Independent Brewers need the tie to survive.

Reading the MA and the Publican, it seems a lot of licensees are hanging on until after Christmas then a lot of keys will be handed in.

The PubCos are the enemy of the pub in my opinion. Like the Russian oligarchs in a way, where they bought assets cheaply and made a fortune. Nice work if you can get it, but in both cases "enemy of the people".

The Woolpack Inn said...

Thanks Tandleman, I agree, it's the big pubcos that are much more of a problem.

The industry was on a knife edge before we had the credit crunch, this will, as you say, take so many over the edge.

The reality is though that I'm not sure what the answer is. Apart from the fact that a pub that serves good quality ale and provides a good service and can make the books balance, will come out of this doing well. Many won't.

Watch out though, "enemy of the people" sounds like it comes from the same stable as "the working man's drink", you'll have that Mr Pickthall calling lefty loony again! But I agree, punters are people and lessees are people, the pubcos are enemies of both.

Tyson said...

I agree with Tandleman. In our neck of the woods we have a lot of tied houses under Independent Brewers and it works well enough. It's the large pubcos that have distorted the system and the Government needs to recognise that.

The Woolpack Inn said...

Well guys, that's fine in some places. There are problems though. Jennings have most of the market stitched up in Keswick for instance. Now Jennings pubs are generally good pubs and their beer is good. But when a whole area is taken over then it's not so good.

I'm also not so sure that independent breweries would NEED the tied system either. But before you go arguing on that point I think it's rather academic. I do not think that an overnight blanket ban on the tie would be good. As I've said in a previous post, it would be just too damn disruptive to the industry. Much more disruptive than the smoking ban, so we should proceed with care.