From the FT
Jon Mail, Camra’s head of public affairs, said pubs had been hit by “a triple whammy” of an increase in beer duty, competition from supermarkets and large pub companies selling beer to their tenants at above-market prices.
“We had been hoping for an improvement but the figures highlight how pubs have really struggled in the last six months,” he said. “High street pubs are still benefiting from people drinking after work but in terms of the suburbs people are going to the supermarket as a cheaper alternative.”
1. Beer duty rose by 4p last year. That's uniform - it affects both supermarkets and pubs.
2. Alcohol has been cheaper at supermarkets for decades, considerably so.
3. Pubcos have always sold beer to their tenants at above market prices.
The thing with town centre pubs is about 2 things. Partly it's a drink after work, which really can't be replaced with "let's all go back to mine". But it's also about people going out on the pull. You simply can't replace going to a pub with anything else if you want to meet a stranger whose pants you want to get into. Rural pubs have suffered because they don't offer this. Jethro and Seth can quite easily decide to go to each others houses instead of going to the pub.
What CAMRA fails to understand is that people never went to the pub to drink. They go for the service on offer, which is mostly social, and the smoking ban wrecked that. If I go to the pub with 2 of my mates, We're rarely all sat at the table - one of them is out having a smoke. It's just easier (and cheaper) to go to their house.
Almost every pub closure I've seen is down to the smoking ban. If people aren't going on the pull to your pub, you don't have a pub garden and you aren't offering food then you're probably dead, or dying.