BII Licensee of the Year says Britain will never adapt to 'cafe culture'

By James Wallin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags License

Lee Price was one of the first licensees in Wales to secure a 24-hour licence
Lee Price was one of the first licensees in Wales to secure a 24-hour licence
Twenty-four hour licensing was a worthwhile but ultimately flawed experiment, according to one of the first licensees in Wales to open around the clock.

Lee Price, who was named British Institute of Innkeeping Licensee of the Year in May, said British drinkers will never adapt to continental attitudes to alcohol.

He was speaking at the first of the BII’s Masterclass roadshows along with previous Licensees of the Year.

He shared his experiences of securing a 24-hour licence at the Royal Pier, Aberystwyth, in 2007, despite fierce opposition from authorities.

His application was granted after he showed a licensing hearing a film highlighting his staff’s pro-active approach to tackling under-age drinking. He also praised the right of responsible drinkers to choose how late they stay out.

Six months after being granted the licence, Price decided to streamline the pub’s opening hours and close at 5am.


He said: “Don’t get me wrong, the café culture was a legitimate social experiment. I just don’t think it worked brilliantly.

“I can speak from experience having been inside the ropes. Simply put, we’re not as smooth as our continental counter-parts and we never will be. We are British, most will always need a bit of Dutch courage before they approach the most attractive bedmate in the bar.”

Price went on to say part of his challenge as an ambassador for the industry was to help convince the authorities and the public that pubs were concerned with responsible drinking.

He said:“We need to promote a healthier attitude to alcohol and stop people before they get into the state where they cause harm to themselves or others. The authorities should be just as concerned about the quiet drinkers who drink at home and are not causing problems on the streets.

Bargain booze

“Pre-drinking to the point of drunkenness has become a required condition of party participation. This is where I think the real liver damage is done – unregulated domestic consumption of cheap wines and spirits from the local supermarket’s bargain bin.

“The attitude and behaviour of young people shape the next generation’s relationship with alcohol. Better quality education on the effects of alcohol and improved enforcement techniques on the ground to prevent under-age sale would certainly pave the way."

He said he used partnerships such as Pubwatch, Best Bar None and Street Pastors to promote the steps the pub trade takes to keep people safe.

The event also heard from former Licensees of the Year Phil Davison, who shared his seven tips for running a successful pub and Ali Carter, who advised licensees about changes to food labelling laws. 

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