High and dry

beer.jpgThe good old-fashioned British boozer is an endangered species – four pubs are going out of business every day!According to the British Beer & Pub Association, pubs are closing seven times faster than in 2006 and 14 times quicker than in 2005.We’re certainly still boozing, just not in boozers. Today’s pubs are selling 14 million fewer pints a day than when sales were at their peak in 1979 and sales are at their lowest level since the Great Depression of the 1930s.Rob Hayward, Chief Executive of the BBPA, fears even more landlords will be reaching for a stiff one if beer duty isn’t frozen in Wednesday’s Budget:“Britain’s pubs are grappling with spiralling costs, sinking sales, fragile consumer confidence and the impact of the smoking ban.“These figures show the stark reality of the pub trade today, in contrast to the hype surrounding the myth of “24-hour drinking” and extended pub opening hours. Pub closures at this rate are threatening an important hub of our social fabric and community history.”However, some pubs are innovating to find new ways to pull in the punters. Sandra Jeffries has converted a part of The Fighting Cocks into a shop to bring in additional revenues and daytime trade.Other pubs are now offering services such as dry cleaning, school lunchboxes and the sale of local produce, while one pub in Suffolk doubles as another endangered beast: the village Post Office.If you’re thinking of pulling pints for a living, it might be wiser to stay on the other side of the bar.

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