Health conscious UK loses 80 pubs a month

Health conscious UK loses 80 pubs a month

This week, CAMRA (The Campaign for Real Ale) reported that 476 pubs had closed across the UK during the first six months of 2018, testimony to a steady and ongoing decline, which shows no signs of abating.

The main reasons for this decline have been well documented, with the rising cost of alcoholic drinks, drink-driving legislation, increased business rates and minimum wage among the most prominent.  Other factors, social and cultural, are also at play;  as a nation we have become health conscious, the Millennial generation (and the upcoming ‘Generation Z’) are more likely to be teetotal than their parents, while there are many and various online attractions which result in us staying at home.

No wonder that drinks producers have been scrambling to launch low or zero alcohol products to meet growing demand, which is being seen not just from pub drinkers but from the population as a whole. While the beer and lager categories were quick to respond to the trend, the UK’s first alcohol-free spirits brand was founded just a couple of years ago (by Seedlip, which last month launched its third flavour, ‘Grove 42’).

A whole raft of so-called hybrid drinks have also now started to come on to the market. Typically, these hybrids are a mixture of a soft drink – maybe a fruit juice, plant extract or tonic water – with a more traditional beer, wine or spirit.  The venerable Fortnum and Mason last month announced a range of organic ‘sparkling teas’.  Imported from Denmark, these low or zero alcohol teas are described as a blend of tea, red or white wine, and infusions of hibiscus or lemongrass.  An exotic and rather pricey hybrid, certainly, but indicative of the way in which our drinking habits are changing.

Which brings us back to CAMRA, who make the point that once a pub is gone, it is usually has gone for good, with the local community around it having lost a valuable resource and social hub.  This applies particularly of course, to small or isolated villages where there may only be a single pub.

Here in Suffolk, as with other more rural counties, it should be incumbent upon us all to support our local pubs to avoid precisely this scenario – even if that means popping in occasionally for a low alcohol beer, or even a cup of (sparkling) tea!

For more information visit the Go Brazil Wine website.

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