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CAMRA reacts to reports of pubs ‘banning swearing’

By Helen Gilbert , 21-Apr-2017
Last updated on 21-Apr-2017 at 14:56 GMT2017-04-21T14:56:29Z

Tight lipped: Samuel Smith has allegedly banned swearing at its sites
Tight lipped: Samuel Smith has allegedly banned swearing at its sites

Pubs should be “encouraging good behaviour” in pubs rather than opting for complete bans on those who swear, the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has said.

The body, which represents 185,000 members, made the comments after reports claimed that landlords at pubs run by independent brewery Samuel Smith were under orders to implement a “zero-tolerance” ban on foul-mouthed drinkers.

According to north-east publication The Gazette, the order to stop serving customers who continue to use bad language was issued by the brewer, which runs 200 pubs across the UK including a number of sites in Teeside.

An unnamed Samuel Smith’s pub manager in Teeside told the newspaper: “It’s the owner of the brewery’s decision, it’s all started from the brewery – all we can do is try our best.”

The article also alleged that a memo dated 12 April from area manager and Samuel Smith Old Brewery owner, Humphrey Smith, had been displayed in some of the pubs.

Relaxed place for conversation

CAMRA's head of communications Tom Stainer said pubs should be a “very relaxed place to have a conversation, without strict rules or formality” but added the atmosphere can be ruined for everyone “if someone goes too far".

“While a complete ban on swearing under threat of ejection might be a step too far, Samuel Smith has made its own decision on how to ensure that all visitors feel welcomed and comfortable within their pubs,” he said.

“I'm sure CAMRA members would be supportive of all pub customers being polite and considerate of fellow drinkers to help make all pubs inviting and inclusive places – which we'd hope could be achieved through encouraging good behaviour, rather than going as far as a complete ban."

Down to individual licensees

A spokesman for the British Beer & Pub Association added: “It is down to individual licensees to decide what their response to bad language would be. We would always urge landlords to be sensitive to their customers’ concerns.”

Samuel Smith did not respond to The Morning Advertiser’s repeated calls for comment.

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