Record Pub Closures in the UK

Being the resident Anglophile at KegWorks, I am always interested in what’s going on across the pond especially when it comes to British beer. Recently the news has not been great.

Real AleCAMRA (CAMpaign for Real Ale) is a British consumer advocacy group that is focused on the promotion of real ale and the preservation of traditional British pubs. It seems CAMRA has had success promoting real ale as its sales are defying the trends in a gloomy British beer market “while lager slipped heavily, cask ale sales dropped only about 1.3% last year, with some brewers such as Fullers reporting a slight increase in demand.” (source).

Perhaps, not the best sounding news, but compared to this distressing stat, it seems incredibly positive: “More than 4,000 pubs will go out of business in the next two years…” (source). That translates to just over 5 pubs closing every day for the next two years. The record number of pub closures is blamed on the smoking ban in pubs, increased taxes on beer sold at pubs and competition from cheap beer at supermarkets. The UK, like the US, is also experiencing severe financial troubles and greatly restricted access to credit causing people to hold onto their cash rather than going to the pub for a pint. All these factors combined seem to be forming the perfect storm that will batter the British pub trade for the foreseeable future.



  • Elaine Saunders November 18, 2008 @ 5:37pm

    Pubs arrived in Britain 2000 years ago with the Roman invasion and they’ve been with us every since. No institution survives that long without learning to adapt but let’s hope the pub can survive the latest crisis.

    They’ve been community centres, unofficial employment exchanges, rudimentary banks, wayside stops and meeting places for societies. Pubs have been, and always will be, more than just a place to buy a drink. They’re an integral part of British culture and long may they remain so

    Elaine Saunders
    Author: A Book About Pub Names
    >Complete Text
    It’s A Book About….blog

  • Pete November 19, 2008 @ 9:21am


    During my time in England I always enjoyed my time in the pub, and hope that someday when I visit again there will be traditional pubs to spend time in. Seems like pubs are going for a rough time with no end in sight. If they were in US, they could ask Congress for a bailout. Since I don’t think we are bailing out foreign institutions yet, hopefully the efforts of groups like CAMRA and the support of communities who cherish their local will slow and reverse this trend of pub closings.


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