Posts Tagged ‘pubs’
What will you be doing this time next week? If you want to save some money, you will be in the pub.
Next Wednesday (25th September) is Cheap Beer Day Tax Parity Day, a protest day staged by members of the VAT Club JB. However, unlike most protests (which at best mean nothing to the ordinary person, but at worst mess up your day in some way), this protest actually saves you money and encourages you to go drinking. Win/win.
The point behind the protest (in case you care) is that the hospitality industry is narked at our current high levels of VAT that definitely apply to pubs, clubs and restaurants, but may not apply to supermarkets selling similar products. This is clearly leading to a decline in the industry and VAT Club members are campaigning for VAT on served drinks and food to be changed to the reduced rate, currently 5%.
The JB of the VAT Club JB and mastermind of the campaign is Jacques Borel, a veteran VAT campaigner who has already stamped his feet across Europe, earning VAT reductions in Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Finland and France.
Borel, who has a vested interest, owning 1,042 restaurants and 35 hotels across Europe, believes lower prices will lead to a rejuvenation of the hospitality industry, and create jobs- his mission is “to launch 1.5m new jobs in bars and restaurants across Europe” before he retires. He claims the tax reduction from 19.6% to 5% in France led to the creation of 225,000 jobs in the first year.
For one day only, pub chains JD Wetherspoons, Brains, Heineken, Shepherd Neame and Punch Taverns, alongside family brewers Fuller’s and St Austell, will join forces with Pizza Hut and Subway and will reduce their prices by 7.5%, to reflect the Utopia of a reduced rate VAT world.
Clearly, the difference between 20% and 5% is actually 15%, rather than 7.5%, but Borel is a pragmatist- “if Government cut VAT to 5%, some businesses would pass on the entire cut to their customers, others would pass on slightly less. We believe that the average amount prices would fall for consumers will be about 7.5%” He also doesn’t believe in dressing business as altruism “This is going to be an incredible driver of sales…you have to remember that these guys are not heroes; they are businessmen. They know that reducing VAT will bring in more custom.”
And it seems he’s right on the money. “We’re aiming to make it the busiest day of the entire year,” Tim Martin, JD Wetherspoon’s chairman told The Telegraph. “Creating tax parity among pubs, restaurants and supermarkets will create more jobs and raise the amount of tax that Government receives. It’s a win, win situation for Government, voters and our industry.”
While no-one (other than the VAT man) is likely to complain at a reduction in VAT, it remains to be seen how effective the campaign is. Finding full pubs on Tax Parity Day, however, is only going to provide concrete evidence that it is the extra VAT cost keeping people out of pubs. You could say it is your patriotic duty to join in next week.
Dr Dan Poulter, doctor and MP, said: “It’s quite an extraordinary story. We know that even minimum alcohol in the bloodstream can affect people’s reaction to drive. So that’s something that I would certainly as a doctor have some concerns over.”
Sir Ian Gilmore, chairman of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said: “Opening a bar at a service station sends out completely the wrong message if we are trying to prevent harm from alcohol-related traffic accidents.”
Carol Whittingham, founder of the Campaign Against Drink Driving, added: “I’m absolutely astounded they have got permission for this. People will be tempted to drink and drive and I can’t understand how the local authority has allowed this.”
The pub chain has defended their decision and said it would not be checking if drinkers were planning to drive. Wetherspoons chairman Tim Martin actually hopes that he’ll be able to open up loads of service station pubs and have been granted permission for a 24-hour bar and restaurant at junction 2 of the M40 at Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire.
Wetherspoons also pointed out that drivers can already buy booze in service stations, adding that they “don’t see any problem.”
The number of local pubs in the UK has fallen to its lowest point in over a century, say the old gits at the Campaign For Real Ale. In fact only 57,000 locals are left, thanks to annoying wine bars, chain pubs and fancy 5 star gastro joints called things like The Lazy Ox and The Fox’s Anal Fissure.
This sad news, which makes you want to immediately hotfoot it to the Pig and Whistle and stare vacantly into a pint of Speckled Badger, comes as traditional pubs are closing at the rate of 26 a week.
Chief executive of CAMRA Mike Benner blamed the government, saying: “We believe that the scrapping of the beer duty escalator and the extra 1p off beer duty announced in this year’s Budget could mark a turning point for pubs.’
But the government also intend to crack down on dodgy dealings from the big chains and introduce a new watchdog scheme which could save local pub landlords £100 million a year.
Let’s hope the humble pub survives. After all, there are only so many times you can see the words ‘pulled pork’ on a rustic blackboard before you want to go mad and attack someone with a pool cue.
Ever looked at your hands in a Dyson Airblade and notice how it spreads your hand-skin all over the place like a pensioner’s ballbag in summer? Now, we’ll be able to see that without peering into a device with Dyson’s latest development.
The company has unveiled the Airblade Tap, which incorporates a hand-drier into a water tap. Of course, this new gizmo will save time and space, not to mention that it will stop you dripping water all over yourself (so no more worrying that you look like you’ve dribbled wazz on yourself, unless of course, the tap spits air and the dregs of the pipes on you).
Naturally, this new device is technically impressive. It will be able to draw in 30 litres of air per second through its HEPA filter, which translates into you drying and washing your hands in 12 seconds. That means more boozing time. Both air and water are operated via infrared sensor and the filter takes 99.9 percent of bacteria out of the air it draws in.
It will, however, set you back £1,000.
BrewDog, Scotland’s largest indie brewery, have announced that they’re going to start opening bars abroad (Deathwatch countdown starts now) on the strength of the fact that they are already exporting their beer to 32 countries and has opened 10 bars around the UK.
The company are looking at their strongest markets outside of the UK, which means pubs in Sweden, Brazil and Japan.
The firm’s finance director, Neil Simpson, said: “I think the main growth is customers looking for a bit more choice – they’re looking for a better flavour and they’re fed up with drinking the same products all the time.”
“So while it is perhaps seen as risky to invest abroad, the opportunities for us are there to grow.”
There is a craft beer boom worldwide at the moment, but does this seem like a stretch too far for a company famous for stuffing their beer inside dead animals?
Pubs, restaurants and other public places that offer ‘free Wi-fi’ are all well and good, but more often than not we’re forced to endure different infuriating sign-ups and login nonsense for every single place that offers us free online access. In short, it’s often more trouble than it’s worth.
O2 might be about to do something about that, and have signed a deal to provide Wi-fi in 1,600 Mitchell & Butlers pubs and restaurants by the end of 2012, including chains such as Harvester, Toby Carvery, Vintage Inns, Browns, All Bar One and O’Neill’s, claiming that their service will be: “fast, genuinely free to customers, reliable and simple-to-use”.
Another good reason to while away a few hours in the great British faceless pub chain outlet then. How much does free Wi-fi matter to you when it comes to your choice of pub?
Like quiz machines? Like pissing? Well, you’ll love the fact that hands-free urinal video games have reached the UK. Well, South London, but y’know, it counts.
Basically, you can play video games with the power of your slash.
Thanks to the way existing male/female genitals work, this is a male-toilets-only thing and the fellas who enter the Exhibit bar in Balham will be able to play one of three games.
One is called ‘Clever Dick’ which is a quiz game, and the controls for all three will test the accuracy of your aim as your move your stream to the left and right.
Of course, this is useless for old men with dribbling streams and no good for those of you who like helping your mates out when they’re playing quiz machines. You wouldn’t want to be the bloke stood behind someone with your lad in your hand, waiting to jump in on the Spandau Ballet questions, do you?
Captive Media, who make these games, say that you’ll be able to post scores on an online leader board and basically show yourself off as a person who can urinate for aaaages.
“It’s taken three years of research and development to get to this point,” says Captive Media director Mark Melford. “The reaction to the units so far has been incredible – it’s just so much fun.”
“We already had a huge amount of interest in the units from bars, pubs, exhibition centres and retail outlets across the country and overseas – even though we’ve been trying to keep a lid on it,” says Captive Media cofounder Gordon MacSween. “It’s a tough time for bars and pubs currently. This product offers customers something fun, and unlike anything they’ve seen before. Those are two good reasons to go out for a drink at a time when so many are opting to stay in.”
The Premier League and Sky have been dealt a heavy blow over the airing of coverage of their soccerball games in public places like pubs. Mostly pubs in fact. A pub landlady from Portsmouth has won the latest battle in her war against the broadcaster and the massive money-generating league over using foreign TV decoders on British soil. Helpfully, it’ll almost certainly upset Rupert Murdoch as well.
After being fined for using a Greek decoder to show live Premier League matches in her pub, Karen Murphy was fined £8,000, but took her case to the European Court of Justice. They’ve backed her and said that national legislation that blocks the use of foreign decoders could not “be justified either in light of the objective of protecting intellectual property rights or by the objective of encouraging the public to attend football stadiums”
The ruling will now go back to the High Court, and could well lead to the Premier League and Sky having to rework how they sell their rights. Basically, in management-speak, the ball is up in the air and no one knows what colour or shape it’ll be when it lands again.
It also means that the plethora of pubs that brazenly show live matches at 3pm on a Saturday (which is supposed to be strictly prohibited) will continue to do so until the Premier League get their act together.
One interesting loophole is that the ECJ has stated that while live matches are not protected by copyright, any surrounding media, such as any opening video sequence, the hideous Premier League ‘anthem’, pre-recorded films showing highlights of recent Premier League matches and various graphics, were “works” protected by copyright. To use any of these parts of a broadcast, a pub would need the permission of the Premier League.
Like Shaun Wright-Phillips, this one is going to run and run…
The Czech brewers of Budvar can officially continue to use the Budweiser name in the UK following a ruling in Europe’s highest court. Presumably those ruling on the beers did a taste test and decided that the American piss-vendors could go whistle.
The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that Budejovicky Budvar was entitled to use the famous Budweiser name because, essentially, UK drinkers aren’t complete idiots and are “well aware of the difference” between the two beers and that Bud makers AB InBev aren’t likely to suffer any adverse effect, business-wise.
“The two brands have co-existed in the UK for decades, differing in taste, price and get-up,” said Mark Blair, who represented Budvar. “The identical nature of the Budweiser marks is an honest, historical co-incidence and causes no significant confusion amongst UK consumers.”
“This is a strong endorsement of Budvar’s right to the name in the UK. It also sends a clear message that you cannot simply cancel a trade mark that has been used for 30 years in good faith.”
The American Bud, which no self respecting human should ever willingly drink, will have to bumble on with its talking frogs and jock strap idiots burping the word BREWSKI while proper beer drinkers enjoy a proper pint.
Away from Bud and onto a different, yet equally pointless tipple, you’ll be thrilled to learn that Carlsberg have had to cut the scarce alcohol content in Skol in a bid to take advantage of changes to the domestic duty regime. It’s gone from a laughable 3% abv to a frankly pathetic 2.8%.
You may as well buy Bass Shandy.
It’s probably almost a decade since he did anything notable on a football pitch, but David Beckham will not be stopped when it comes to establishing himself as a global brand.
Here he is furrowing his brow and running about while looking like a complete cock in an attempt to flog bottles of his new liquid stink ‘Homme’. What a bell-end.
By way of a comparison, here’s another England legend, Bobby Moore, plugging a very different product/service – the pub. That’s more like it.
Beers sales are on the up! HURRAY! Unless, of course, they’ve gone up for depressing reasons like, say, everyone in Britain is depressed and started looking into habitual alcoholism. One source of simultaneous glee and gloom – the World Cup – is thought to be one of the reasons that UK beer sales have risen.
The BBC report that the equivalent of more than 2.2 billion pints were sold between April and June, which according to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), is an increase of 2.9% on last year which means that quarterly sales were up on 12 months ago for the first time in four years. The nice weather probably didn’t do any harm either.
It isn’t all good news for the booze industry. Growth was seen at shops and supermarkets, but sales in Britain’s pubs fell by 6.3%. “The World Cup has certainly been a benefit to Britain’s beer sector and we can now hope that the market is starting to turn a corner,” said BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds.
“However, while there is some reason for cheer, it has to be noted that beer sales in pubs are still falling and the nation’s pubs need support.”
The BBPA once again called on the government to freeze the tax on beer and support pubs “recognising the economic and social contribution of these vital community assets”.
SAVE OUR PUBS!
3D football eh? I bet that’s mental. I bet Richard Key’s hairy hands look even more ghastly when lurching out of the screen like a b-movie monster.
Anyway, BSkyB are going to launch Europe’s first 3D TV channel, Sky 3D, with the Barclays Premier League match between ManUrinals and Chelski on Saturday 3rd April.
It’s not just a one-off though as Sky have announced that they plan to show at least a further five Premier League games (which have yet to be announced… Hull fans, I wouldn’t get your hopes up) before the end of the season on 9th May.
Lower down the leagues, Sky also plan to show the Coca-Cola Football League play-off finals from Wembley Stadium in 3D in summer.
Over a thousand pubs have signed up to show Sky 3D. So from April, once word gets around to which ale-houses have it, we’ll all be able to pile in and watch footy matches popping out of the screen, with clearances heading directly toward our eyeballs. It’s likely that more and more pubs will sign up in the next few weeks.
Brian Lenz, director of product design and TV product development at Sky, called the 3D channel’s launch with the title-contender clash “fitting”. I don’t know why he said that, but he did.
Anyway, even if it’s only a novelty, it should be great fun.
This recession has totally shagged the British pub industry. The big figure has been that 52 pubs have closed per week. That’s a staggering and, quite frankly, shitty amount of boozers to lose.
However, after relentless gloom ladling, here’s something a little more cheerful. Last week, a report came out saying that beer sales are finally getting better. These sales are far from brilliant, but progress is progress. So is it time to be cautiously optimistic for British pubs?
The Publican reported yesterday that pub performance is improving. Naturally, the first lot to show signs of recovery are the big chain pubs. However, this news was followed by new data compiled for the British Beer and Pub Association by CGA Strategy, showing that the second half of 2009 saw 39 pubs closing per week. It’s still crap, but it’s definitely not as crap as it was, meaning that things could be getting better for our ale houses.
A total of 2,365 pubs closed during 2009, leaving us with 52,500 in Britain. What this transpires to is a loss of over £250 million in tax revenues this year, if the current closure level continues. There’s a whole lot of people losing their jobs too, which is something that news outlets seems less keen on reporting.
However, the BBPA is warning the Government that they should be looking at way to help pubs out to avoid intensifying problems. The tax burden remains the biggest issue, and the government is apparently planning another above inflation increase in Beer Tax in the forthcoming Budget.
This increase in the complexity and cost of running a pub is ensuring that our ‘free houses’ are suffering more than any other pub. These closures have lead to a group forming called Back The Pub which is a campaign which hopes to bring together all those with an interest in supporting and promoting the British pub.
While it seems that things are a long way from being sorted, things are certainly looking up for the British pub. Now, who fancies a scoop?
People, the future is finally here – and better still, you’ll have to go down the pub to witness it in all its majestic glory.
Sky, the broadcasting monster that we all love to hate and hate to love but secretly love a bit anyway are the providers of the great leap forward – it’s your real, actual 3D football on the telly.
It’ll happen as soon as this Sunday in a smattering of pubs around the country where the Arsenal v Manchester United Premier League skirmish will be broadcast in all three magnificent dimensions. Sky claim it will be it will be the first transmission of a live 3D TV sports event to a public audience.
Better still, if you want to see it, you’ll need to work out where to go, as Sky are refusing to reveal the identity of the nine pubs, in order to avoid a series of stampedes.
All they will say is that four of the screenings will be in London, with two in Manchester and one each in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Dublin.
The service will be increased in April, when hundreds of pubs will be kitted out with 3D screening equipment, with scores of grown adults standing around all sporting silly 3D glasses as they watch Burnley and Birmingham grind out a miserable 0-0 draw.
By the end of the year, Sky 3D should be available in the living rooms of Sky HD subscribers who take their film and movie packages.
Where will it all end? Smell-o-vision we hope, with the chance to opt in for the whiff of stale beer and meat pies, or if you choose the retro option, Silk Cuts and male urine.
The Great British Pub is an ailing, sickly thing. Pubs are dropping like brides’ nighties leaving us faced with a wall of chain pubs and their fart-smelling pints. The latest figure is that 52 boozers are closing every week.
As our locals shut up shop, we find ourselves increasingly likely to stay in our homes getting rat-arsed, smoking tabs on the flammable couch and pretending to talk to strangers when we go for a slash and standing in our gardens throwing wild punches at an imagined adversary who fingered our girlfriend’s pint.
And things could get a whole lot worse.
You see, pubs are getting priced out of the game and thousands of landlords are set to vote on whether to take industrial action in protest at the amount they must pay in overheads.
Over half of Britain’s pubs are owned by large pub firms – pubcos – and the GMB union says they require landlords to buy beer at a premium rate, as well as being asked to cough up for an up-front fee to and over-the-odds rent.
Apparently, there’s around 25,000 landlords in the UK who run ‘tied pubs’, which are rented from one of seven large property companies who also sell them beer. GMB reckons that the pubs are being charged up to double the wholesale price of beer available on the open market and makes demands of £12,000 of the annual cut in wholesale payments for each pub.
Industrial action looks inevitable but as yet, is not clear in what shape it will take. Should the staff and landlords decide to picket across the doors of their pubs, we could well see pubco reps backed by policemen with their numbers covered taking swipes at busty barmaids whilst alcoholics openly weep stage left as Billy Bragg strikes up a tuneless protest song.
Or, it could be a good time to start getting hammered on cheap ale.
GMB national officer Paul Maloney said: “If members vote for action, pubs will lower prices to customers during the dispute. The aim of the action by the tied tenants is to secure negotiation with pubcos to achieve very substantial cuts in wholesale prices and a resolution to a wide range of grievances experienced by the tied tenants at the hands of the pubcos’ middle managers and their agents.”
MPs from the Business and Enterprise Select Committee have called for the Competition Commission to investigate arrangements that oblige pub tenants to take beer supplies only from their landlords.