Following the scrapping of the beer duty escalator at this month’s Budget – and the first cut in beer duty since 1959 – the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has launched a month-long celebration of Britain’s community pubs.
Community Pubs Month, which starts on April 1, encourages pubs around the country to organise events that will appeal to the public.
The campaign follows independent research from CAMRA that shows 42 per cent of people are using pubs less than they did a year ago.
The consumer group is hailing the recent tax cuts as a new start for British pubs and brewers.
Mike Benner, CAMRA chief executive, said: “The Chancellor has become the toast of Britain’s cash-strapped beer drinkers and we should now be paying around 10p less per pub pint than we would have been had the escalator remained in place in the Budget.
“This is a massive victory for Britain’s 15million beer drinkers and we are urging people to celebrate in their local throughout Community Pubs Month.
“The research shows that many people are using pubs less in these difficult times and this tax cut is an important step in the right direction to support this great British industry and get people back into an essential community amenity – the pub.”
CAMRA has distributed over 6,000 promotional pub packs across Britain to help pubs market and promote the activities they have planned.
Community Pubs Month also kick-starts four national pub campaigns that CAMRA will run over the next ten months. The aim is to raise the profile of pub-going and increase the number of people using pubs regularly.
CAMRA is also taking the opportunity to call on the industry, Government and consumers to back its campaign for British pub-going. It is asking local councils to include pubs protection and promotion policies in their plans; urging Government to support community pubs by including reform of planning law to protect pubs from change of use, and delivering legislation to re-balance the relationship between large pub companies and their licensees.
It is also asking brewers and pub companies to back its Community Pub initiatives throughout the year, and asking consumers to celebrate the end of the beer duty escalator in their local during April.
CAMRA asked pub-goers what types of pubs would encourage them to visit more often. It found that:
• 43 per cent wanted pubs that offered quality food and drink
• 27 per cent wanted live music
• 24 per cent wanted more family-orientated pubs
• 15 per cent wanted pubs that offered traditional pub games like darts, pool and skittles
• 15 per cent wanted pubs that offer promotions and deals
• 9 per cent wanted free Wi-Fi and the use of laptops or computers
• 5 per cent wanted social networking, where they could socialise with a friend via video technology
• And 4 per cent wanted a range of board games in their pub
It also found that 37 per cent of pub-goers would be more likely to visit if pubs organised more events and informed them on a regular basis what was planned; 31 per cent wanted to see more local music, bands and DJs in their pubs; 24 per cent wanted more pub quizzes; 17 per cent wanted beer tastings from local breweries; and 16 per cent wanted more family-orientated events.
Mr Benner said: “Our research shows that, building on the success of the campaign to scrap the beer duty escalator, there is plenty pubs can do to attract more people through their doors in these tough times.
“There is now a need for everyone to work together to help reverse the decline in pub-going and put this great British industry firmly back on the map.”
Pubs wanting to take part in Community Pubs Month can register at www.communitypubsmonth.org.uk