Saturday, 2 August 2014

Balancing the economics of brewing ale and running boozers.

A pub closure is always bad news. However, you sometimes have to grit your teeth and accept it is a case of balancing the books.

This prickly subject was raised a couple of weeks ago, by a friend whose view and opinion I always respect. However, in this instance, I had to disagree with him.

As you probably know, there is a relatively large brewer in Burnley, East Lancashire. Moorhouse's has been quite a success story in recent times. So much so, a few years ago it invested over four million quid in a new brewery, in order to cope with increasing demand for its fine range of ales.

My friend was dismayed that Moorhouse's had closed another pub in town, namely, the Stanley. A typical, traditional boozer, that was mainly 'wet lead'. (Not sure whether it was totally wet 
lead). He lamented that the brewer in recent times had seven 
boozers - and in a short period of time, its pub estate had been reduced to only three.

Ok, that is always a statistic that is sad to hear - and hard to take. However, I felt obliged to defend the brewer, in this particular instance. 

My view on the four pub closures was this: Firstly, Moorhouse's ain't a Pubco, hell bent on closing pubs to reduce a massive pile of debt. I saw the pub closures as being an enforced financial measure. A situation where the brewery may have concluded that the pub was no longer sustainable, and reluctantly had to make a tough decision.

These boozers I suspect were loss making. Unlike some Pubco  owned watering holes, that are often profit making - and closed, just to prevent the possibility of the administrator knocking on the door!

Running and expanding a brewery is an expensive business, and I'm of the opinion that Moorhouse's simply had to make a decision, in this instance, between brewing beer and running pubs. 

I'm no expert in finance or economics but, sometimes monies have to be simply channeled into other area's. For example, utilising a brewery to its full working capacity. If it's not being utilised fully, I can only assume there would be a drain on  resources and therefore must limit the brewer investing in other area's.

I know that most who read the blog, are passionate about the care, welfare and longevity of our drinking dens. However, there does come a time, on occasion, when business acumen has to prevail.