November 2006, December 2006
December 6 2006
Greene King (Pubs and Pubmen, Eye 1171) must be fast becoming the country's
least favourite brewers. Down here in Kent they have recently replaced traditional
pictograph inn signs with just a large depiction of their logo in green on white;
thus bringing to country lanes the same bland uniformity that bedevils our town
centres. This is yet another example of the brewers' gross arrogance and insensitivity
both to the feelings of local communities and our national heritage.
Yours, who will be drinking elsewhere,
November 10-23, 2006
Pubs and Pubmen
Stock-exchange listed brewer Greene King certainly knows how to talk the talk
when it comes to keeping alive the traditional British pub.
It sponsors the annual Perfect Pub award, currently bring promoted in the Daily
Telegraph, and earlier this year it hosted the launch of The Publican trade
paper’s Proud of Pubs campaign at the House of Commons, which was attended
by scores of thirsty MPs.
Greene King’s chief executive Rooney Anand told the honourable members
it was a “great start” in the battle to keep pubs alive and at the
centre of local communities. “It’s about time society started standing
up for our pubs and recognising them as one of our nation’s greatest Assets”,
he said. Greene King marketing director Friona Hope said: “The pub and
the pint are great institutions that play a positive role in millions of peoples’
All of which has a somewhat hollow ring to thousands of customers of locals
up and down Britain who have experienced the way Greene King stands up for local
pubs and communities at first hand.
In recent years Greede King, which owns 2,600 pubs and made an operating profit
of £191m last year, has bought -- and closed – three local traditional
breweries, Morlands, Ridleys and Hardy and Hansons. In September it paid £217m
for Hardy and Hanson’s Victorian Kimberley brewery in Nottingham, plus
250 pubs. In October it announced it was closing the brewery and transferring
production to Bury St Edmunds by the end of the year with the loss of 80 jobs.
GK also announce last month that it was putting 150 pubs across Britain up for
sale. Most are likely to be redeveloped as flats or turned into restaurants
because GK can make quicker short-term profits that way.
In Lewes, East Sussex, more than 1,000 people, including local MP Norman Baker,
have signed a petition against GK’s decision to stop selling Harveys,
the award-winning ale that has been brewed by an independent family company
in the town for more than 200 years, at the Lewes Arms, the town’s foremost
The 207-year-old pub, a warren of small rooms and wonky stairs, is home to
dozens of clubs and societies and all manner of eccentric charitable events,
such as the World Pea-Throwing Championships. Its regulars are devoted to their
local brew, which outsells all other bees, including Greene King’s, by
at least four to one. They fear that the ban on Harveys is but the first step
in a process which could see their beloved local, like scores of others owned
by Greede King, turned into flats or even a gastropub – and sod the locals.