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mid-nineties we regularly reported on brewery takeovers and closures including Watneys taking over Ruddles; Greene King closing Rayments; Greenall Whitley closing Davenports; S&N getting hold of Courage and also closing Home Ales Brewery. Another regular theme has been pubs under threat of closure or destruction and our attempts to save them. Most notable in the early years was the sudden closure of the Still and we are back in the same position again. Others were the changes to the Blue Bell, Dogsthorpe and to the Cherry Tree, Oundle Road, the latter only recently being in BAE again due to threats of its destruction. Nothing much changes of course and more recently we have campaigned to prevent the demolition of the Brewery Tap and the Royal Oak, Walton. Items that directly affect your pint have also made front page news in BAE. The price of a pint made news back in 1991 and still does today and we were campaigning for a full pint in that same year and in 1992, 17 years ago, the Government promised us a full pint and yet we are still waiting for anything better than 95%. Back then we said of the brewers, “It’s escaped their notice that we are in the deepest recession for decades…” Another of our campaigns was against the use of fake hand pumps that were used to serve keg beer so that it appeared to be real ale and even worse, a few landlords who served keg beer through a real hand pump. Main culprits back in the 80’s and 90’s in our area were Elgoods, though both Greenalls and Whitbread were also up to the same trick and Scrumpy Jack cider became a problem in the mid 90’s. Thankfully that problem seems to have finally been sorted. Bang up to date as always, BAE carried an article about global warming in 1989, suggesting that keg beer and lager were responsible for the

destruction of the ozone layer. This was the April edition. Government policy has always been good for BAE headlines. No one ever put duty down! – Now that would be a headline! Problems with the brewery tie were first mentioned in issue 4 and we are still arguing with the Government about its effect. The Beer Orders started back in 1989 allowing pubs to have a guest real ale until the big breweries sold off their pubs and deprived them of the opportunity. Flexible licensing was another favourite, first promised by the Government in 1986; and having waited almost 20 years for it, the Conservatives are thinking of taking it away again, mainly because of the “new” problem of binge drinkers – Issue 24 (1989) – “Home Office Minister, John Patten, ascribed part of the blame for a 17% rise in violent crime to rampaging lager louts, part of the Saturday night lager culture”. Obviously a “new” problem then? And just so you don’t get too depressed, here is a quote from 1992, “Alas, the British pub is an endangered species as the men and women behind the bars are finding out. The tenants are angry, bitter and disillusioned with both the brewers and the Government.” According to the latest figures, pubs are closing at a faster rate now than at any other time so keep drinking the beer and, if you haven’t already, join CAMRA. Harry


BAE 150  
BAE 150  

Beer Around 'Ere, the newsletter of Peterborough & District Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale. Dec 2009 - Jan 2010