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Youngsters, get down the pub!

By thirsty hack Ignatius Rake

Posted August 07, 2012
young people should go to the pub more
Oi, you! Get down the pub right this minute! (Check bottom for credit)

New stats show that young people don't go to the pub enough, although those that do are rightly getting into real ale.

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), the body behind the Great British Beer Festival (GBBF) that opens today at London's Olympia, has announced some disturbing statistics that reveal a worrying trend among the youth of contemporary Britain.

They're not going to the pub enough.

Since the GBBF was last held at Olympia in 20051, the percentage of pub-goers aged 18 to 24 visiting the pub at least once a week "has plummeted" from 38% to 16%, a CAMRA press release citing CAMRA/TNS stats states.

Over the same period, more than 8,000 pubs have closed across the country.

Furthermore, in the last 12 months, 39% of all pub-goers have either visited the pub less frequently than they did the year before or haven't gone at all.

"Hard working publicans have been hammered by the government in recent times and what we've seen in the past seven years is that young adults in particular have been priced out of an affordable night down their local pub," says CAMRA CEO Mike Benner.

"The government have encouraged people to use their pubs as community assets, yet this is a hollow message when punitive increases on the price of a pint have meant that consumers are deterred from visiting their local, causing beer sales figures in this country to fall flat."

Meanwhile, more than one in two regular pub-goers apparently prefer to drink at home rather than down the pub as it is simply cheaper.

In response, CAMRA is urging pub-goers to sign a beer tax e-petition to call for an end to above-inflation tax increases on their pints.

At time of writing, the petition had so far garnered nearly 73,000 signatures.

However, it requires at least 100,000 to trigger a high profile debate in Parliament.

"Since 2008, beer tax has been hiked by 42%, and 55% of all adults in this country agree going to the pub has become an unaffordable activity," CAMRA reports.

Central to reversing the decline of Britain's historic pub industry is the growing popularity of real ale, which CAMRA asserts "can offer hope to the future of community pubs".

Over the past four years, the percentage of 18-to-24-year-olds having tried real ale has increased from 30% to 46%.

The percentage of women trying real ale has also risen, doubling from 16% in 2008 to 32% today.

Indeed, the UK's real ale industry, CAMRA says, has experienced "huge growth" since 2005, with the number of operational brewers across the country jumping from 550 to more than 850 while the number of different real ales brewed now stands at over 5,500.

"The British beer industry is such a vibrant and diverse marketplace at the moment," Benner notes, "and it has only been aided by the amount of pioneering new brewers coming into the industry."

"These brewers have given pubs a way of reaching out to local people through stocking local beer, and one of the most exciting aspects of this resurging interest in real ale is how accessible it is now becoming to consumers."

"Our research shows that 38% of young real ale drinking adults agree they go for a pint of Britain's national drink because they want to support local businesses."

"This is a key indicator that the nation's new generation of real ale drinkers are desiring quality, local products, a vital trend which offers much hope to getting more young people back into pubs and reversing this decline."

So if you're aged 18 to 24 and reading this at home, at work, down the dole office or in some university library or whatever, do us all a favour and get down the boozer now!

Mine's a pint of Old Bastard.

See also Sod the Olympics, drink down Olympia, posted 6/8/12.


1) Between 2006 and 2011, the GBBF was held at Earl's Court in London.

Photo credit

Top and thumb: Some youngsters who should be down the pub by bobaliciouslondon.

For licensing information click the above link.

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