View Full Version : a swift one - The Greedy B*******ds Do It Again

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16-08-2010, 07:31
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As readers will have realised, the editors travel far and wide in search of beer and pubs to drink it in. We often travel outside Yorkshire to bring you the updates from other parts of the country. It saddens me to write this article but I feel I have no choice.

A little while ago, visitors to Salford were gladdened when Tim Flynn, from the New Oxford there took over a closed pub and renovated it to high standards, with the intention of making it, The Black Lion, a sister pub to the Oxford but with a range of different guest beers, more foreign beer choice and a good food range. The only problem being that, although the New Oxford was free of tie, the Black Lion wasn't and he had to run it under the umbrella of one of the large pub groups. As it became successful, and made more money, they became greedier and wanted a bigger cut. Tim saw no other way that to cut and run, and the Black Lion closed.

I know this is not unique, and many pubs have closed because of similar events but surely a bit of give and take by the pub co would have saved the Lion and we would not be bemoaning our loss.

The same fate has now befallen the Black Horse at Darwen. I don't think many readers will know the pub, and possibly some will not care that a pub in the depths of Lancashire has closed but let me explain why it has got under my, and many other people's skin.

The Black Horse was another run down pub, just a back street local in a back street town,(lets face it, who deliberately goes to Darwen), until it was taken over a few years ago by an enterprising couple of blokes, who saw some potential there. They built up its local trade and then gradually became more adventureous. They started having beer festivals. Soon their festivals became one of the 'must visit' events of the year, attracting enthusiasts from all over. Even I have made the tortureous trek across the hills. We were treated to a superb festival with plenty of new beers, unusual breweries and the pub was on the map. All the pub seemed to pull together to make the festival happen, and the community spirit was self evident. The guys then set about brewing and soon the Graffiti brewery was up and running. More local employment, more choice for the locals and visitors alike.

Then things started to go wrong. The brewery closed, I do not know the reason, but I have my suspicions. And today, I have read that the guys from the Black Horse have called it a day and left. Why ? The greedy pub group has hiked their rent so that it unsustainable to continue and another landmark pub has bitten the dust. It may well be that someone else will take the pub over, but no doubt, it will be a smooth flow,lager joint and the hard work that has been put in to save the place, and bring the community together has all been in vain. Its a sad day, not only for the drinkers of real ale, or drinkers in Darwen, but for the drinking brotherhood itself.

If it can happen there, it can happen here. It has happened here. I can name several pubs that have closed, never to reopen in our local area, because the pub companies cannot see the wood for the trees, and want their pound of flesh, and in these times that pound is becoming two or three pounds.

Lets support what we have, and be grateful that in our town we have many good pubs that are free of tie which are not only surviving but going from strength to strength. Lets also support the tied pubs too, or it may be too late, like it is for the Black Lion and the Black Horse, and all we can do is bemoan what we have lost.

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