I have a business idea that I hope the Chancellor will support. It’s a chain of coffee shops in small towns where the market wouldn’t support a viable coffee shop business. The first financial requirement is already available with small business rate relief for many vacant premises.
My next stage should be easy given that coffee shops play an important role in community cohesion. I’d like the government to reduce taxes on small coffee producers so that I can then buy cheaper craft coffee for my shops. And also I’d like the government to legislate to stop nasty property owners getting a change of use on existing coffee shops given their key role in the lifeblood of the community and world peace.
I’m also hoping to get subsidies for small sheds for groups of middle class, middle-aged blokes but I hear that micro pubs have in effect already achieved that target.
The point of all this rambling? I’m unconvinced that micro pubs have increased consumer spend and therefore they must be taking money from proper pubs. I’m all for innovation and letting the market decide but for the reasons described above I’m not sure we have a level playing field for pubs v micro pubs. As increasing numbers of micro pubs hit the GBG (and hit trade in other pubs) we are, in my view, hastening the decline of proper pubs and we could be heading to a world of converted shops as our leading ontrade beer emporia.
The risk is that we could hasten the decline of the traditional pubs beloved of those on the Draught Bass wing of beer blogging. (I wonder how many pubs with just one real ale are in the GBG.) But perhaps that’s what most folk want?