Mixed Future Predicted for Scotland’s Pubs and Off-licenses

Posted on December 1, 2011

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By David Marshall

Minimum pricing laws may have a positive economic effect on Scottish Pubs, according to a leading alcohol awareness group.

Diane Thomson, who launched Alcohol Awareness Week, said: “Breweries feel that pubs have been affected in a negative manner because of supermarkets selling harmful low cost drinks. With this practice becoming less common pubs are more likely to see more people coming through their doors.”

In the past, supermarkets have triumphed in the alcohol market due to being able to offer much cheaper prices over pubs and off-licenses. However, whether minimum pricing will actually benefit the more traditional areas of the drink industry still remains to be seen.

Neil Gordon, manager of the Crystal Palace pub in Glasgow, part of the nationwide Weatherspoon chain, remains sceptical about the affect minimum pricing will have on his pub.

“It will have an effect on the company in the sense that Weatherspoon will no longer have control over pricing. This means that we will be able to give the customers the best deals available.”

He added: “The amount of people who are coming through the door may rise but turnover certainly won’t benefit from the new laws.”

He was also quick to stress that: “Weatherspoon has always promoted a sensible drinking policy and we have always, and will continue to, refuse service to customers who exceeded their limit.”

Off-licenses will also be subject to the new laws. Donald McIntosh, Manager of Peckhams off-license in Glasgow, believes that small retailers will “Benefit from minimum pricing”.

He added: “Recent laws have done nothing but hurt small retailers. The introducing of minimum pricing may now encourage people to come to places like us instead of their big chain supermarkets.”

Many pubs which cater for a certain demographic may well see a decrease in business when the new laws are introduced.

The Ark in Glasgow is a well known student pub in the locale area. Such places are famous are offering low prices in order to attract the student market. Under the new laws this could become a thing of the past.

Jamie Fraser who works in The Ark said that: “With the new laws we will be unable to offer our core cheap prices that we do now”

He added:  “The deals that we offer will take a hit but there are still ways to get around the law, It is a bit unpredictable to be honest.”

“Everyone will be affected when the new laws come in, we just don’t know by how much yet.”

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