Brits' economic indicator: Fewer pub visits

It may be more a sign of a changing economy than bad times, but beer sales at British pubs have fallen to their lowest level since the Great Depresssion, the Associated Press is reporting.

The British Beer and Pub Association's Quarterly Beer Barometer revealed that pub managers around the country are now pulling around 14 million pints a day -- a fair amount -- but some 1.6 million fewer than last year and 7 million less than at the height of the market in 1979.

The story says pub owners blame supermarkets for cutting the margins on beer sales, making it cheaper for Brits to drink at home than go to the pub. A 43-year-old carpenter told the AP he used to be at a pub two or three times a week, but now he only goes "every now and again."

That pattern has pubs closing -- at a rate that's really historic:

More than 1,400 pubs called last orders for the final time in 2007 and the Campaign for Real Ale claims that more than half of Britain's villages are "dry" for the first time since the Norman Conquest of 1066.

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