ALE 26th Cambridge Beer Festival No. 295

Government Watch

A quick run-though some of the current issues, following on from ALE 293.

EU

One of the many quirks (to put it mildly) of the EU policy on agriculture is that wine production counts as agriculture and receives subsidies but beer production is an industry and gets nothing. Southern European bias?

Door supervisors

The idea of proper registration of the people formerly known as bouncers seems to be gaining wide acceptance, backed by a proposed national qualification scheme. However it should be remembered that introducing door staff is often a sign of defeat by ineffective management and a signal that "this is a place which needs bouncers" which tends to be self-fulfilling. Recent promotions such as "drink a gallon" (of fizzy national blands) don't help. The complementary initiative of barring known trouble-makers via exclusion orders is also becoming more widely used.

Duty

Shepherd Neame and the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) continue their battles against the policies which are devastating the pubs industry.
SIBA www.beertax.org.uk campaign site
(Sources: Teletext 12/2/99, Licensee & Morning Advertiser 18/2/99 & BLRA)

[Follow-up: ALE 296]

New Year's Eve

Licensing hours are almost certainly being permanently deregulated to permit opening from 11am on the 31st through to 11pm on the 1st. Residents, police or councils will be able to lodge an objection for a particular pub which, if upheld, would lead to a three-year ban from having the extension.

General licensing reform

This is still on hold pending the outcome of more "consultation" and nothing definite seems likely to happen this year. However the head of the task force (Lord Haskins) has stated he favours switching licensing from open, fact-based hearings before magistrates to the vagaries of politicians' committee meetings. This has appalled the industry.

The Parliamentary Beer Club is recommending an hour's winding down time (no alcohol sales), as operates in Holland.

The Licensing & Young Persons Bill by Christine McCafferty MP is a worthy attempt to close some loopholes and to make it easier to police sales to under-age drinkers. It has all-party and trade support but Eric "Froth" Forth struck again and used procedure to block progress. He was reported as being the MP who stopped us all having full pints by blocking that bill.
(Source: Licensee & Morning Advertiser 19/4/99)

[Follow-up: ALE 296]

No-smoking areas

Again, it's all gone quiet but there seems to be no will to impose no-smoking policies but rather to push the industry's voluntary code.

Proctor & Gamble have produced a cleaning chemical which wraps around smoke particles and then evaporates. It can also handle food and alcohol smells. It could be very useful for getting smells off furnishings etc.
(Source: The Publican 1/3/99)
[Febreze spray was being advertised on TV as of December 1999.]

[Follow-up: ALE 296.]


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