View Full Version : The Pub Curmudgeon - That’ll show ’em!

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05-04-2016, 13:21
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Tucked away at the end of the order paper at last weekend’s CAMRA AGM in Liverpool was a motion calling for CAMRA not to “promote, advertise or accept sponsorship from supermarkets”. This ended up being passed, although by that stage in the proceedings I suspect the key priority for many delegates was getting out of the hall for a pint. No doubt some of the activists felt a warm sense of achievement having struck a blow against The Man, but in reality it is just the kind of futile, anti-business, student gesture politics that causes many not to take the organisation seriously. I can’t imagine that the directors of Tesco and ASDA will be exactly quaking in their boots.
Supermarkets are often viewed as the enemies of pubs in terms of closing them down and turning them into convenience stores, and selling beer at rock-bottom prices. However, this is a simplistic and misleading analysis. What has really happened is more that various social and legislative changes have cut the demand for pubgoing, and to a large extent supermarkets have stepped into the breach. And selling stuff that people want to buy at keen prices – how appalling!
I’d guess that the vast majority of blog readers who do buy beer for consumption at home at least occasionally buy some from a supermarket. It’s also probably the case that each of the Big Four alone sells more beer brewed by British independent breweries than the whole of the independent off-licence sector combined. So it’s little more than an exercise in cutting off your nose to spite your face. Might it not make more sense to work with supermarkets to encourage them to stock a wider and better beer range rather than just hoping they’ll go away?
It also raises the question of how you define a supermarket. Would it cover Booths (http://www.booths.co.uk/), who have a mere 28 stores in and around the North-West, and have a very impressive beer range with particular emphasis on smaller local breweries? Or indeed individual franchisees of umbrella brands such as Nisa and Spar?

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