The Publican: 36 years in the business

By Matt Eley Matt

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pubs Labour party

The Publican has been in business for 36 years but this week is the last issue before we merge with our old rival the Morning Advertiser. Looking...

The Publican has been in business for 36 years but this week is the last issue before we merge with our old rival the Morning Advertiser.

Looking back, it has been quite a roller coaster ride in the trade. Here are just a handful of The Publican's greatest hits as a standalone title.

EEC changes its mind over the tie
October 28, 1982
Think the debate about the beer tie is new? Think again. This one has been dragging on for nearly as long as beer has been sold in pubs. In the early 80s the EEC looked set to scrap the tie on canned and bottled beers. Nearly 30 years later, the debate still rumbles on, but you'd be hard-pressed to find many pubs selling cans.

Pubs go karaoke crazy
September 10, 1990
Twenty-one years ago, The Publican went weekly for the first time. It had been a fortnightly publication up to that point. We took a look at the new craze from Japan that was taking pubs by storm.

Little did we know that karaoke would lead to horrendous caterwauling in pubs across the land for decades to come, and would be at least partially responsible for that great Saturday night trade killer - The X Factor.

Too many pubs
March 25, 1991
Some things change, and some things remain exactly as they were. In Budget week 2011 we ran a story under virtually the same headline as this one 20 years ago. The argument over the number of pubs to satisfy demand still shows no sign of abating.

Labour's tax threat
February 24, 1992
The Publican was given a glimpse of the future under a Labour government when it was revealed that it wanted to cut alcohol consumption by 20 per cent in 10 years by introducing huge tax increases. Harriet Harman - yep she was around even then - was the driving force behind the plan.

In the same article, Labour also revealed that a licensee's policy on smoking would be 'left up to the individual'… now what's that people were saying about trusting politicians?

Alcopop action sparks new row
October 7, 1996
The mid-1990s… Blur were battling Oasis for Britpop supremacy, England had lost to the Germans on penalties… again… and teenagers across the land were taking a shine to a new breed of drinks.

Alcopops, a trend and term that did the trade no good at all, came in for huge criticism but at this stage industry watchdog the Portman Group was standing firm against the complaints.

Revellers snub New Year pubs
January 10, 2000
Remember the millennium and that bug that was going to wipe away all of the cash in your bank account? Or debt, depending on your circumstances. It had been hoped that the curtain raiser to the next 1,000 years would leave plenty of money in pub tills.

Alas many people decided to avoid busy bars and opted for cheap booze and a night in with friends, something that has continued during the past 10 years.

Late licensing announced
November 18, 2002
Finally, people would be able to have a drink after 11pm in a pub. The Queen's speech contained details of the café culture Labour wanted to inspire by relaxing the opening hours legislation. It seemed like a good idea at the time and it has certainly given a generation of Publican hacks something to write about.

Hunt on for pub conman
April 19, 2004
We loved doing our bit to help catch crooks and this time we were after a conman who was responsible for a hatful of crimes against licensees.

The trickster booked hundreds of rooms, built up huge tabs and ran off with cash from the pubs. We caught him in the end though….

Trade turns on the Mail
January 31, 2005
We have launched many campaigns to fight on behalf of licensees over the years, not least the award-winning Proud of Pubs. This time we were taking a swipe at that old foe of the trade, the Daily Mail. Its campaign to 'say no to 24-hour pubs' - a myth it helped create - led to our 'Say No to the Daily Mail' campaign.

Many licensees joined in but it seems Middle England kept on buying the paper…

No smoke without fire
July 7, 2007
The day thousands in the trade hoped they would never see - smoking is banned in pubs in England. Depending on who you are, it is either the best thing to ever happen or the one legislative change that has had the single most negative impact on the trade. Cue lots of stories about smoking shelters, noisy smokers, e-cigarettes and a talking point that will just not be stubbed out.

Darling the Reaper
December 1, 2008
We love lampooning the Chancellor of the day and in 2008 it was Alistair Darling's turn. In his pre-Budget report, Gordon Brown's right-hand man whacked a helpful eight per cent on alcohol duty, which pretty much ruined any hope that the trade had of holding prices, with VAT being dropped to 15 per cent. Cheers Darling.

Fight the code
August 3, 2009
The trade vows to fight the latest piece of legislation that the brains behind the Labour party concocted. This time it was the mandatory code, which among other things, would crack down on irresponsible promotions. The news was met with the sound of dentist's chairs across the country being thrown into skips.

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Busy location on coastal main road Extensively renovated detached public house Five trade areas (100)  Sizeable refurbished 4-5 bedroom accommodation Newly created beer garden (125) Established and popular business...

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