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12-01-2013, 14:40
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Some telling words here (http://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/Company-City-News/JW-Lees-hopes-to-launch-10-new-pubs-in-2013) from William Lees-Jones of Middleton family brewer J W Lees:

Lees-Jones said that the company had been “in the trenches” since the smoking ban. He said the firm had initially adopted a “very defensive” approach, protecting its core wet-led trade by building smoking shelters.
“It has been a waste of time, if I’m honest. That part of our trade changed forever.”
“Where we have seen success, it has been with food and families”.
Food sales throughout its 30-strong managed-pub estate have increased from about 15% to 43% since the smoking ban was brought in”.Surely, looking at it the other way, that means wet sales have declined from 85% to 57%, not good news if you run a brewery. This is yet more evidence of how the smoking ban has killed the traditional drink and chat community pub.
Lees may succeed in opening a few trendy café-bars, but how does a café-bar benefit from being owned by a family brewer dating back 185 years? As I reported here (http://pubcurmudgeon.blogspot.co.uk/2009/06/f-factor.html), the future of the pub is seen as “food, families, females and fortysomethings”. No fags, though, at least those sold in packs of twenty. Which, for all too many long-standing pub customers, spells “f-off home”.
And a smoking shelter, however commodious and well-intentioned, can never be more than a grudging, third-rate substitute for actually allowing the smokers inside the pub itself.

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