Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Their Like Will Be Seen No More

Two tiny bits of sad news this week.  Wheatley AFC are no more, wives, children, hangovers and growing old having taken their toll, so no more Sunday football for the vagabond side. 

It says in this season's CAMRA magazine that the Woolpack/Commercial in Esholt has closed down, it should come as no surprise to anyone to learn that the pub was part of the sprawling Enterprise Inns chain.  When there are no more village pubs left, and a vital and wonderful part of our national heritage has been allowed to die, it should be noted that it wasn't the smoking ban that killed pubs, nor was it the price of beer in supermarkets (although these things may not have helped), it is largely the appalling greed of the non-brewery pub chains that sprung up in the wake of the Monopoly Act.  These companies charge huge rents to landlords, and then tie them by contract to buying beer at vastly inflated prices.

The pub chains would not have existed without an ill conceived law brought in by the Conservative Government in 1989, the Beer Orders aimed to break up the monopoly of the six biggest brewery pub chains, but it gave rise to the non-brewery landlords and the demise of thousands of pubs across the country.
If you want to point a finger at who killed our pubs, it was the Tory party.


  1. In essence everything you note is correct. However I think the Pubcos should shoulder a slightly higher proportion of the blame than the previous incarnation of the Conservative Party. As an ex-publican I think it’s would interest any body in any other industry to understand that the Pubcos are affectively self confessed parasites.

    If by some error of judgement you find yourself signing a Punch Taverns lease for example. The can expect to become entirely responsible for the maintenance of their dilapidated building at your expense but under the bullying control of their sub-contracted surveyor. Who charges them and therefore indirectly you over £200 per visit. Your alleged discount with be calculated on some strange algorithm based of your barrelage. Effectively you can expect a greater discount if you sell more, however you will always be paying at least 20% more than the direct wholesale price from the brewery. In addition if you by some miracle manage to increase your barrelage over a sustained period they will increase your rent by an approximate percentage which will be slightly greater than your increase in turnover. A fine incentive to thrive, you’ll agree. This based on a minimum rent of £800 per month plus VAT for the worse maintained houses with the least possibility of profit.

    If you happen to be brave and mention the fact that you can’t afford to eat or feed your pets to your BRM (Business Relations Manage / Slave Manager) his curt reply is / was “ You signed the agreement, nobody made you. You’re got 7 years left on the least so you can try to sell it, live with it or we’ll see you in court ”. At this stage I charged him £3.50 for his cup of coffee and escorted him off the promises….

    In the same the government may have provided the opportunity for these miscreants, but nobody made them act in such an appalling manner.

  2. The Lurker2:22 pm

    RIP Wheatley AFC

  3. Squirt8:49 pm

    The Woolpack was on the market for a new tenant for over a year. No takers because the rent to the brewery was astronomical. In the end the Landlord and his good lady wife had to just hand the keys back. They had a cracking business serving reasonably priced food & ale, and a good local clientele. The pub has been closed during the busy summer season, and no stirrings yet as to a re-open. Very sad state of affairs :(

  4. It wasn't a brewery taking the rent though, it was a property company who also sold beer through contract, it's an important difference.

  5. Sorry Tony, your comment got trapped by Google's new spam catcher, don't know why, but I have released it.

  6. Cheers YS. It was a bit of a rant, but you brought into the light a point that many probably aren't aware of