Is this the final nail?

headbeerhead Beer, News, Opinion 4 Comments

I read, with a shudder, the news story from the Morning Advertiser‘s website that a Morrisons supermarket in Guiseley, West Yorkshire, has just installed a bar serving draught cask and craft beers. I have long since said that the only advantage that pubs have over supermarkets is that they sell draught beer and that the only reason that supermarkets don’t is that nobody has yet thought about it. Sadly, this is no longer the case.

Supermarkets have a lot to answer for. They have all but destroyed the high street, closing local independent businesses such as butchers and green grocers and decimating traditional market stalls across the country. They happily sell absurdly cheap alcohol which is then drunk at home, on the street, or by pre-loaders before their visits to the pubs and clubs, but do not have to deal with the consequences when it is abused. It is the pubs that are called on to deal with the problems caused by alcohol with onerous regulations, red tape and unfair license restrictions that seemingly do not apply to the supermarket industry.

The Morning Advertiser article does give fair coverage of this story, with many industry figures opining that it will make little difference to pubs. This may or may not prove to be true. Time will tell. It is though, without doubt, another nail in the already soundly hammered-down coffin lid for the traditional pub.

In my opinion, the pub industry should unite big style and campaign for the government to take alcohol sales away from supermarkets and only license pubs, clubs and proper off-licences, as it used to be. Great pubs serving fantastic beer will of course survive. But for the many thousands that are struggling, I suspect this is very unsettling news. They all need your support now, more than ever.

If you are reading this, it’s a pretty safe bet you’re interested in beer and probably a pub user. Please reply to this post in the comments column and let us know if you would drink beer at a bar in a supermarket environment.

#takebacklicensing

The original MA news item can be read here.

Comments 4

  1. In a word, no. Bright lighting, endless announcements with the corporate catchphrase, probably Greene King crap too.

    I’d be amazed if it’s a success but then I did opine that the text message would never catch on!

  2. I live in Retford and it could well be the final nail in the coffin for some pubs if supermarkets start to have bars – trade is spread around thinly as it is. However much trade they do it will be one less drink served in a traditional pub.

    A good comparison is the fuel industry, supermarkets cut price to the bone as it is a relative sideline and proper garages are therefore struggling to compete and some going out of business:-(

  3. I agree wholeheartedly with this article. Supermarkets should not even be licensed to sell alcohol. If this seems harsh then look at the huge increase in alcohol-fuelled anti-social behaviour and violence. Speak to the many victims throughout our communities. As my friend writes; most of this will be down to alcohol purchased from the supermarket. Take a look at the huge cost spent by the country on responsible-drinking campaigns, policing and the NHS. I cannot imagine that I shall ever stand in a bar in a supermarket drinking beer and I hope the majority feel like I do so that this ludicrous idea does not become a success.
    Councils across the country should not grant permission for any more supermarkets to open bars. Instead of continually forcing new rules and regulations onto publicans the Government should be forced to take greater responsibility for the mass sales of alcohol at supermarkets and the impact this has throughout Britain.

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