Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Beeronomics: Pubs and Recessions

Over on the Beervana blog, Jeff has posted a poll about beer drinking habit changes in a recession.  
In a visit to a half full Portland pub on a recent Friday night, he wondered whether pub going is declining in the recession in favor of drinking at home.  In the comments a reader mentions that pub going for her has not decreased as pubs are a substitute for higher priced bars and restaurants.

As I wrote in the comments, it is an interesting question: are brewpubs less expensive alternatives to higher priced bars and restaurants - or are they more expensive alternatives to drinking beer at home? I suspect both, but which is dominant in a recession?

My infrequent pub going experience has been to pretty packed pubs in Portland these days, so I would imagine that the former effect is at least as large as the latter in Portland.

But news from the "Land of Pubs" suggests that this is not generally true.  Apparently in-pub beer sales are down almost 10% in the UK.  Supermarkets and off-licenses (shops that are allowed to sell carry-out alcohol) beer sales are down 6.5%.  So it seems that Brits are substituting carry out beer for pub drinking, but overall the pub industry in the UK is in big trouble.  

What about for you, still frequenting the pubs?


jessibeaucoup said...

I'm drinking less overall but certainly going out a lot less. And that will decline even more after Sunday when football season is over.

Jeff Alworth said...

No doubt the smoking ban will factor into peoples' analysis too, though I only just this minute consider it as a factor.

Patrick Emerson said...

The term 'pub' to me connotes places that did not allow smoking before the ban anyway. Bars however, might be feeling the effects of the ban.

In the UK the smoking ban was accused of decreasing custom at pubs, but I have no data on this.