A pint of beer for 98p

A CONCERNED village publican has questioned the wisdom of a national chain selling pints for 99p claiming it could force many rural pubs out of business.

Dave Gooderham

A CONCERNED village publican has questioned the wisdom of a national chain selling pints for 99p claiming it could force many rural pubs out of business.

Neil Gurr, who runs the Cherry Tree in Glemsford, has warned that the new price structure by the JD Wetherspoon chain could have a disastrous impact on rival pubs which cannot afford to match the cuts.

To highlight his concerns about the future of village pubs caused by a price war, Mr Gurr has decided to sell a pint of Greene King IPA for 98p for a limited time only.


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He said: “I am really concerned that if Wetherspoon's promotion continues for any great deal of time then it will be detrimental to rural pubs.

“We decided to do a 98p pint because we wanted to highlight the plight of the majority of pubs who cannot compete with the likes of Wetherspoon's and also supermarket prices.

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“Rural pubs are the lifeblood of the community. All of the pubs in Glemsford, for example, have character and individuality and I know other villages are exactly the same.”

Mr Gurr said his pricing reaction to Wetherspoon's will only run twice a week throughout January with customers limited to how many pints they can buy.

He added: “We are in quite an enviable position as a freehold pub. But we are concerned about other tenants and managers who can't sell at these prices.

“In the current climate, we need to be doing all we can to help village pubs. But I think if this promotion continues, then we could see some rural close for good.”

But the company, which is famed for cheap alcohol and food prices, said it had no intention of withdrawing the price reduction on Greene King IPA and some other beers, wines and spirits.

Wetherspoon's chief executive John Hutson said: “People enjoy going to the pub. However we appreciate that the economic downturn means that they now have to be more careful with their money. Unlike most sales that start in January our offers will not be ending within days but will run indefinitely.”

Speaking at the time of the Wetherspoon's new pricing launch, Justin Adams, managing director of Greene King Brewing Company, said: “JD Wetherspoon's didn't consult with us about this and we are not supporting or funding it in any way.

“Brewers have no influence over what is charged to the pub customer. Pub chains set their own retail prices and, although we are extremely disappointed at the promotion, it is illegal for us to interfere in retail pricing in any way. We are deeply concerned by how low the price is, but it is not our decision.”

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