A tax break from the Government and community support will be vital to stop the decline of Vale pubs, a CAMRA official has said.
This week sees the publication of the 40th anniversary edition of CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide, but many pubs currently sit empty across the Vale, while others are scraping the bottom of the barrel.
With beer duty rising every year and many people preferring to stay home with supermarket-bought alcohol, landlords are really feeling the squeeze, despite the rising popularity of real ale festivals.
But it is not all bad news.
The Seven Stars at Dinton and the Russell Arms in Butlers Cross have both been saved from extinction by the community, while Aylesbury’s The New Zealand is looking to re-open. The Russell Arms has undergone a refurbishment and the lease handed to the team from Wendover’s No.2 Pound Street.
James Grant, of No.2 and the Russell Arms, said: “We are really pleased with the initial uptake.
“We are dead excited. It’s hard work but if you don’t put in the work you don’t get anything out. We want to offer something for everybody.”
But many pubs have fallen foul of the economic climate.
The Red Lion in Haddenham closed suddenly, and the White Lion in Marsworth has not been trading for more than a year, although an application to build houses there has been rejected.
Chairman of the Aylesbury Vale and Wycombe CAMRA branch, Alexander Wright, said many pubs are having to watch their bottom line.
“A lot of them are struggling. It’s tough but if we can help them out by stopping the Government taxing us to death and by going to them I think it will pick up a bit as the economy recovers.”
He said although beer festivals are popular at the moment, many pubs do not sell the ales people enjoy at the festivals.
He said: “A lot of pubs are contracted by pub companies to sell certain beers so you can’t get the range of beers that are available at a real ale festival.
“People want the choice.”