Editor’s Note: If you follow anyone in the British beer world on social media, you’re bound to see people commenting on the “pub crisis” in England. Something in the neighborhood of 17,000 pubs have closed in the last few of decades. While this sounds alarming, there may be more factors contributing to this than typically cited. Des de Moor of “Beer Culture with Des de Moor” provides a great read that dives into demographics and the changing role of the pub in modern life. It’s a longer read, but is well worth your time and provides great insight into British pubs and pub culture. (Love beer Hate Pubs? by Des de Moor)
Love beer hate pubs?
Anyone taking an interest in the discussion around beer and pubs in the UK over the past few years must surely have experienced cognitive dissonance. On the one hand, there’s a steady stream of gloomy pub closure stories and predictions of the death of the pub. On the other, there’s the astonishing surge in brewery numbers, now at around 1,700 or so, reflecting an unprecedented rise in popularity of specialist and ‘craft’ beer. According to statistics, since the early 1980s the UK seems to have lost 17,000 pubs while gaining a good 1,500 breweries.
These apparently conflicting trends don’t only cause confusion, they also sometimes provoke acrimony and misunderstanding. Judging by some of the strongly-worded postings on social media, pub campaigners are frustrated with what they perceive as the indifference and complacency of many on the beer scene, including beer bloggers and even CAMRA, to the supposed crisis facing pubs. Surely, runs the argument, if you care about beer you must also care about pubs? The two self-evidently go together, right?
Well, not necessarily. Of course, there is a link between pubs and beer, but that link is an accident of history, and has never been exclusive – so long as there have been pubs in the way we recognise them today, there have also been ways of enjoying beer outside them. And the link is now being loosened still further by the same changing patterns of consumption that have reduced the customer… (Continue reading at Beer Culture by Des de Moor)