Welcome back to our brief guide about the ‘beer tie’ – that most hated of pub chains practices. Hated by the landlords who struggle to turn over even the smallest profits and hated by the customers, forced to pay inflated prices just so their local pub can stay in business.
In Part One we mentioned that there were organisations attempting to oppose the beer tie, including the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and the Fair Pint Campaign. But how do you lobby an group as powerful as the drinks industry? Well you get some Members of Parliament on your side.
Currently there is an organisation called the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), a
group made up of the biggest pub chains and accounting for about 5% of Britain’s 52,500 pubs. It’s a self-regulatory body for the industry which is apparently completely useless. The government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has produced four reports in the last seven years alone which recommended changes to the way the industry operates. The final report, 18 months ago, was an ultimatum which, according to the BIS has been ignored.
The Department and interested MP’s have now lost patience with the industry and the BBPA (which says it is, not surprisingly, “deeply disappointed” by the report”). The BBPA has made some small concessions, but nothing serious enough – 16% of new lessees can now enjoy a lease with no beer tie and 9% of existing lessees get the same privilege.
The beer tie is not the only issue facing tenants, the BIS report also cites the organisation for failing to provide a list of rent costs nationwide. More alarmingly it notes “far too many unpleasant reports across the industry of bullying and intimidation towards lessees.”
The BIS report concedes that now may be the time for the government to introduce legislation regarding the behaviour of the pub companies, having failed time and time again to self-regulate themselves via the BBPA.