Make sure all of your funny talking friends see this:
Changing economics and shifting tastes have claimed roughly one out of every five pubs during the last two decades in Britain, and things are growing worse. Since the 2008 financial crisis, 7,000 have shut, leaving some small communities confronting unthinkable: life without a “local,” as pubs are known.
And that has spurred the government into action. New legislation is letting people petition to have a pub designated an “asset of community value,” a status that provides a degree of protection from demolition and helps community groups buy pubs themselves, rather than seeing them get snatched up by real estate developers eager to convert them for other uses or tear them down. Since the Ivy House, a beloved local in south London, became the first to receive the designation last year, roughly 300 others have followed suit. ...
Still, the traditional pub is being squeezed as never before, even after George Osborne, chancellor of the Exchequer, reversed course last March and reduced the tax paid on every pint of beer, by a penny. Antismoking laws are keeping smokers away. Cut-price beer for sale at supermarkets is eating into business. In London, the upward spiral of real estate prices has made pubs attractive targets for developers.
And then there is a cultural shift on this isle of bitter, porter and stout: People in Britain are drinking about 23 percent less beer than a decade ago, according to the British Beer and Pub Association. Pubs have been trying to take up the slack with other beverages and expanded food menus.
On another level, Britain’s pub trouble is also an echo of the deregulatory fervor of Margaret Thatcher. In the 1980s, her Conservative government broke up the near monopoly that brewers held over pubs. But the breweries were replaced by large, independent companies that have since gobbled up a little over half of the nation’s pubs. These “pubcos” often own the land, determine what beer pubs can sell and can charge high rents.
*It is going to be that kind of week.