The crackdown on drink driving is a valid reason but it is also a justified one and only affects rural pubs and roadside pubs that you have to drive to.
Urban pubs also see the same problem and are closing down but that is due to the price of drink. Especially in these recessionary times, people want value for money. Also I think it is lack of choice. In Ireland almost every pub serves the same beers and with the exception of Bulmers (Magners) which is a Cider (sort of) none of the beers available are truly Irish. Even Guinness is no longer an Irish company. On the other hand the pubs that are serving a wide range of Craft beer be it Irish or foreign or those that brew their own are making a killing. The reason is value for money. Craft beer costs more to produce because it is a hand crafted product and not mass produced. Buying it in a loquor store is far more expensive than buying a bottle of Bud or Heineken and yet the beer in the pub costs the same so your bottle of Heineken which can often be got for about €1 in an off license is about €5 in the pub. Your bottle of Craft brewed Irish beer might be €3.20 in the off license but still only about €5 in the pub so you get better value for money.
Anyway recent ad campaigns run by the the LVA have included ads promoting the pub as the best social networking site of them all. Frankly I agree and I hope to see a resurgance in the pub industry but I think it will only come with change.
The article from England is below.
Courage Beer survey signals boost for Britain’s pubs
The Pub confirmed as the best conversation environment outside the home
Brits spend four and a half hours every day in conversation
New survey reveals average Brit has 27 conversations every day
18th August 2010: The pub industry today received a big boost from Courage Beer, who has published very positive findings from a nationwide research study it commissioned looking into Britain’s conversations and social behaviour.
The survey found that Britain's pubs have cemented their position as the vibrant social hub of Britain’s local communities, being chosen as the best environment outside of the home to have the best conversations. 50% of those quizzed have made new friends by talking to people in the pub, and the pub (43%) is also the place where you are most likely to strike up a conversation with a stranger, followed by long haul flights (38%) and nightclubs (27%).
Britain as a nation of chatterboxes with the average person having 27 conversations every day, lasting an average of 10 minutes each. That adds up to a massive 4.5 hours a day or nearly 100,000 hours or 68 days - every year.
The Courage Beer Conversations survey of 3,000 British adults for Courage Beer found that Geordies are the UK’s most gregarious with the North East weighing in with an average of 33 conversations per day - closely followed by the Welsh on 32, whilst the Northern Irish are least outgoing with an average of 22 conversations every day.
However, whilst the survey illustrates our convivial nature, the survey also points to a worrying aspect of Britain’s sociability with 43% of our daily conversations deemed pointless.
Those questioned were split on whether modern technology has caused the art of conversation to wane in recent years with 52% believing people don’t talk face to face any more, whilst 48% think technology means we actually talk more, but through a different medium.
Only a third of people count the conversations they have on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook as ‘proper conversations’.
Over 63% of those asked think the younger generation has lost the art of conversation, either as a result of technology making young people lazy (30%) or making them less forthcoming when it comes to others (33%).
Other highlights of the survey include;
• Humour and honesty were deemed the most important elements of a meaningful conversation to those questioned with a combined split of over 60% followed by ‘Getting a different point of view’ (26%) and ‘Learning new facts’ (12%).
• Marriage & relationships (74%) head the list of conversation topics that Brits consider meaningful, closely followed by money (60%) and work/ job happiness (55%). Politics comes in fourth at 34%, followed by food & drink (27%) and religion and property prices on 22%.
• Whilst Britain seems to a companionable nation it appears we don’t appear to be natural socialisers with 64% of Brits finding it hard to make conversations. Weekend plans are the main saviour of these faltering conversations (45%) followed by that trusty backstop, the weather (35%) and the news (30%).
• Britain’s focus on work is reflected in the fact that we are just as likely to have a meaningful conversation on a daily basis with a friend (56%) as work colleague (57%) although reassuringly both trail behind partner or spouse on 74%.
Theodore Zeldin CBE, highly respected lecturer, historian, philosopher and author of ‘Conversation; How talk can change our lives’ and of An Intimate History of Humanity said “Conversation is a meeting of minds. When minds meet, they don't just exchange facts: they transform them, reshape them, draw different implications from them, engage in new trains of thought. The pub has had a unique role in British society as the incubator of talk of many kinds. Now that technology is encouraging less face to face interaction, the pub has the opportunity to develop new forms of conversation and of social interaction.”
Courage Beer is one of the UK’s most established beer brands with over two centuries of brewing pedigree and a rich heritage of being at the heart of the UK’s pub conversations across its ever-popular Courage Best brand and premium cask beer Courage Directors. The Courage Beer Conversations study was developed to check the current state of British conversations.
“Courage beer has been at the heart of British pub conversations for over 200 years and it’s fascinating to see that whilst the way we communicate is changing, the pub remains the environment for the best conversations” said Chris Lewis from Courage Beer brewers, Wells & Young’s.