Licensee accuses medical experts of 'eroding pub culture' after his takings drop 50% in January

By Emily Sutherland contact

- Last updated on GMT

The public have been warned there is no 'safe' level of drinking
The public have been warned there is no 'safe' level of drinking

Related tags: Alcoholic beverage

A Charles Wells licensee has accused chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies of failing to understand the role pubs play in local communities after a combination of Dry January and the new lower drinking guidelines saw his takings drop by 50%.

Richard Hammond, who runs the Queens Head in Ampthill, Bedford, said the health lobby was “totally eroding pub culture”.

“We’re constantly judged by the rotten 2%, the worst in the industry. We’re not all irresponsible hooligans. We do fantastic things for the local community, for anyone and everyone. I’ve been told by priests that there’s more Christian spirit in my pub than in the church.

“We provide for disabled people, we support lots of charities, we help people who have been ill or suffered setbacks in their relationships. Things are starting to pick back up now, but January was a challenge.”

The new guidelines recommend​ men and women drink no more than 14 units a week and say that there is no ‘safe’ level of drinking.

Dame Sally recently said that whenever she drinks a glass of wine, she questions whether she wants to raise her risk of breast cancer.

Both the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers and the British Beer & Pub Association have expressed concerns​ at the guidelines.

The Publican’s Morning Advertiser ​ran a successful #TryJanuary ​campaign​, calling on licensees to put on new drinks and dishes, and encourage consumers to try something different.

Charlie McVeigh, founder of the seven-strong Draft House group, said customers were getting on board with the campaign. “People want to support pubs and will come if you offer them something different,” he said.

Related topics: Beer, Health & safety

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