Can Modern Brewers keep Traditional English Pubs Thriving?
Here in the Cotswold we are very lucky to have a huge array of welcoming, traditional English pubs. There is nothing quite like the familiar smell, with a cosy, friendly atmosphere, a roaring fire come winter and an alluring beer garden when the sun’s out, we simply love our traditional English pubs. Many of us enjoy a nice Sunday hike following by some lunch and a pint in the pub, but the problem some of these drinking and eating establishments are facing is that often they are found in small, rural villages. With the allure of new developments in towns and big chain eateries and places to drink popping up left, right and centre, traditional English pub's are struggling to compete and are rapidly losing out. According to the British Beer and Pub Association, Britain had 69,000 pubs in 1980, and is now down to 50,000. Campaign for Real Ale group have also said that pubs are closing their doors as rapidly as 21 per week. The thought of traditional English pubs dying out is really a sad one, so what can be done to help rescue this truly English institution?
Many pubs are trying to sway people back with new and innovative ideas, themed pubs are popping up, particularly in big cities like London, for example Bounce - where customers can play ping pong whilst sipping their beers and Whistle Punks where you can drink beer and throw an axe at a target! But are these gimmick ideas the answer or do we need to look towards the beer brewers themselves? Beer and Ale drinking has become very fashionable with the rise of craft beer breweries who make beer on a smaller scale by non mechanised means. You can’t fail to notice the many different beers popping up in pubs with clever names and interesting branding, in fact there haven’t been as many brewing companies on the scene as there are now for the last 70 years. These breweries seem to be reviving and reinventing beer as we know it, and this could be a really good thing for our traditional English pubs.
This rise could well be down to chancellor Gordon Brown who in 2002 introduced Progressive Beer Duty, which gave tax breaks to smaller brewing companies, and from there on out the number of small brewers began to grow. Small brewing companies seem to fit in perfectly with the foodie revolution that has swept Britain over the past 20 years which has focused heavily on localism, using natural ingredients, more interesting flavours and being made using artisanal methods.
So how can these new brewers help our traditional English pubs? So many people have jumped on the craft beer band wagon that people are actually choosing their preferred drinking hole because of the beer it has on offer, by having a nice range of traditional and craft beers in English pubs, they are pulling in people simply because they love the beer that’s being sold. Craft beers also attract a younger demographic which helps to push away the ‘old man pub’ style stigma attached to many traditional English pubs. Women and men alike are enjoying beer nowadays, in a recent study 57% of British women chose craft beer as their preferred drink over other ales, whiskey or soft drinks. Craft beers can also compliment food nicely, so can be part of the dining experience and not always just good for a swift pint with friends. There is such an incredible variety of beer these days, that if you think you don’t like beer, you just haven’t found the right one yet! As more money comes into English pubs, more can be spent on updating decor and bringing some modern twists whilst keeping hold of the traditional styles that we know and love.
If you’re a fan of traditional English pubs and would be as sad as us to see them dwindle and die out then why not pay your local a visit, whether you’re out for a walk and fancy a pit stop, or are meeting up with friends, head on in, sample some craft beers and find your style of choice. Let’s show our support and keep these wonderful places thriving.