American Craft Beer just returned from a short to junket over to London where we spent more than our fair share of time enjoying many of the country’s national treasures, the British pub.
Unfortunately these village greens for camaraderie and serious drinking are facing what CAMRA calls a ‘ticking time bomb.’
In a recent report, The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) announced that as many as 28,000 pubs have closed since their organization was founded in the 1970s.
There were approximately 75,000 British pubs at that time and now shockingly, there are less than 50,000 currently operating in the UK.
So what’s the reason for the country’s disappearing pubs?
Well, according to CAMRA Britain’s latest set of taxation laws have led to fewer people drinking in pubs and more UK citizens consuming their beer at home.
Taxation and death…seemingly unavoidable and always consequential.
In March, the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced that Great Britain’s alcohol duty would rise with inflation beginning in April, which effectively ended a freeze that protected the country’s beer and spirits from duty increases.
That decision has impacted the ‘drinking-out’ industry profoundly, causing some of the country’s leading pubs to see their tax costs rise by a mind-blowing 377%. A difficult situation for England’s rural pubs and a crushing one in expensive cities like London, where long-established pubs were already under assault by soaring rental costs.
CAMRA also discovered that many out-of-town supermarkets and stores based on industrial estates saw their taxation rates reduced in April. And with urban pubs now bearing the brunt of April’s tax increases, the imbalance is as obvious as it is potentially devastating.
CAMRA views the current tax inequity as a critical situation that “can only fuel the rate and level of pub closures” in the future and we do as well.
The drinking experience has long been a confluence of taste and vibe. And enjoying a beer in one of England’s neighborhood pubs is a unique and memorable enjoyment…One that we can only hope won’t be disappearing.