Hours Not So Happy At British Pubs

    May 23, 2005

The long-standing tradition of happy hour in pubs would appear to be on its way out in Britain. The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) announced they would no longer endorse or allow happy hour and other promotions designed to encourage binge drinking in their pubs.

The organization represents 32,000 of the 59,000 pubs in Britain and brew 98% of the beer. The British government and the police both welcome the new set of rigorous standards for the fabled British pub scene.

“Offers like pay 10 on the door and all drinks are free; drinking games; and schemes that encourage people to drink too much too quickly have no place in our sector and we are determined to stamp them out. With the backing of the Government, the Police and Licensing Authorities across the UK we aim to ensure that all pubs operate to these standards of corporate and community social responsibility,” said Mark Hastings, Director of Communications, BBPA.

The BBPA said that responsible promotions and ad campaigns are perfectly valid but that they didn’t want to support irresponsible drinking behaviors and this will help to curb that. behavior.

“Responsible promotions do have an important role to play in a pub business and are in the interests of consumers,” continued Mr. Hastings. “Irresponsible promotions damage the reputation of the sector, drive down quality and standards and have no place in a well-managed licensed business. The companies that have signed up to these standards are determined to play a leading role in improving practice throughout the industry”

To the foreign observer, this move seems a little strange. British pubs have always been a place of singing and drinking games. Responsible drinking in Britain means to try a couple of all the beers and ales in the place and not spilling any. How can you keep a stiff upper lip with no foam on it? But alas, the public health must be protected and realistically, any self-respecting drinker can get tanked on his own with the help of some promotions. I wonder though if this will drop some business for the pubs. Only time will tell.

John Stith is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.