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Pubs, pub chains, pub companies, and breweries. - I know it's wonky and I don't care [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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Pubs, pub chains, pub companies, and breweries. [Oct. 12th, 2008|02:11 pm]
Kake
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Oh, I am very confused. Maybe someone who's reading this can help. (Public post, feel free to link.)

So, I thought "X is a Y pub" meant that pub X (e.g. the Star) was owned by the Y brewery (e.g. Fuller's), and that Fuller's choose someone (well, usually two someones, usually two married someones) to run the pub. The brewery/pubco also usually exerts some control over which beers can be sold in the pub.

But now I learn that the Ship and Whale in Rotherhithe is "a Shepherd Neame pub, but they don't own it" (the manager of the pub told me this, in an email so I can't have misheard him).

Also, the Wheatsheaf on Stoney Street certainly appears to be a Young's pub, but according to an advert in the August/September 2008 London Drinker, it's also claimed by the Red Car Pub Company.

Any clues?
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: valkyriekaren
2008-10-12 01:23 pm (UTC)
The term you may not be aware of here is 'tied house'. A tied house has to buy all or some of its beer from a particular brewery or supplier, but isn't owned by them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tied_house

(my Dad's cousin runs the pub in the village I grew up in, hence why I know about this stuff!)

Edited at 2008-10-12 01:27 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: nou
2008-10-12 01:27 pm (UTC)
Ah-ha, thanks! I'd been thinking that tied houses were always owned by the brewery (and hence the opposite of free houses), but I'd forgotten about soft loans.

Still doesn't explain the Wheatsheaf, really, but it might be what's going on with the Ship and Whale.
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[User Picture]From: bryangb
2008-11-09 12:28 pm (UTC)
As well as tenanted pubs, there's also managed pubs. Usually the manager works for the pub's owner, but sometimes the owner subcontracts the job to a management company, which I believe is what's happened with the Wheatsheaf.
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[User Picture]From: nou
2008-11-09 05:22 pm (UTC)
That makes sense; thank you!
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[User Picture]From: j4
2008-10-12 01:29 pm (UTC)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tied_house - see also "Free house".

I'd guess that chains/companies can be tied/free just as individual pubs are, & the chain-ness is just another layer of management, IYSWIM...?

BTW (totally unrelated) are you coming to Oxford next weekend?
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[User Picture]From: j4
2008-10-12 01:31 pm (UTC)
Oh bugger, sorry for duplicating the other comment (which wasn't there when I opened the 'post comment' thingy, but still, IMRTRTWTBR hethe hannard).
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[User Picture]From: nou
2008-10-12 01:34 pm (UTC)
Yep, I'm coming to Oxford. Will you be at the hackfest?
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[User Picture]From: j4
2008-10-12 02:05 pm (UTC)
Yes! I am hoping to be able to do some of the HTML/CSS stuff (my perl is still awful), but even if there's nothing hacky I can actually do I have promised to be there for all of Saturday to keep an eye on you allas one of the two members of OUCS staff they insist on having there. :)
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[User Picture]From: thekumquat
2008-10-12 01:30 pm (UTC)
Some years back (early 90s?) the Monopolies+Mergers Commission decided that the large breweries owned too many pubs and had to sell them so they didn't own more than some set limit
Cue the creation of pubcos, which own the pubs (red Car, Wetherspoon, etc), which then have contracts with the breweries to sell only their beers.
As a way to keep smaller breweries in the market, it backfired totally, as there was no limit on how many pubs a pubco could own...
The requirment that pubs be allowed to sell a guest beer didn't help much.

So your understanding was right, but not any more.
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[User Picture]From: nou
2008-10-12 01:37 pm (UTC)
Hm, Red Car do seem to "sell" themselves as an independent. Maybe this is not entirely true... Independent pubcos do exist, I'm sure.

Wetherspoons is independent of the breweries, isn't it?
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[User Picture]From: alan1957
2008-10-12 02:00 pm (UTC)
Wetherspoons is independent of the breweries, isn't it?

do yew remember when the chain started they were banned from selling Guinness by the brewers? I don't know wot their current status is...
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[User Picture]From: blech
2008-10-12 07:19 pm (UTC)

Guardian on pubcos, circa '05

Reading this, I had a vague memory of an article in the Guardian, and the first result I turned up is probably the one:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2005/jul/23/weekend7.weekend2

Choice quote, about a third of the way in:

"In 1989, the six biggest brewers owned around 30,000 pubs. Now, the 10 biggest PubCos own around the same number. Meanwhile, the six biggest brewers own no pubs at all, but produce a higher proportion of beer than they did in the 1980s: eight out of every 10 pints drunk."

It's a bit of a depressing read, I'm afraid, but might be worth it.
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[User Picture]From: alan1957
2008-10-12 01:57 pm (UTC)
Dunno if it 'elps but there's some definitions of pub manager, tenant and lessee 'ere:
http://www.familybrewers.co.uk/home/run-a-pub/manager--tenant-or-lessee-

i can remember that a former friend of mine's family were managers for one of the big chains and they would be sent to shit 'ole pubs; they'd turn 'em around and as a reward they'd be sent to anuvver crappy pub to do the same again. whereas my old local (back in stockwell - where everybody did know your name, your usual, your business and your criminal record!) was part of one of the chains but woz 'owned' by the landlord/lady.
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[User Picture]From: vicarage
2008-10-12 02:17 pm (UTC)
I think a tenancy is involves a financial commitment on your part, putting money into the business, buying fittings etc, so its like being a franchisee. To be a manager is to just be an employee.

I think the name above the door is required by the licencing authority, who want a named individual, and would not accept a Brewery or company name.
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[User Picture]From: nou
2008-10-12 06:46 pm (UTC)
My understanding is that your understanding is correct (on all counts).

BTW, did you get my reply to your email last month? Let me know if it didn't arrive, and I'll re-send it.

Edited at 2008-10-12 06:48 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: vicarage
2008-10-14 08:01 am (UTC)
No I did get your message, just couldn't think of anything to say in reply... As a South Londoner, all your explorations in Northern suburbs seem odd to me, as it feels just WRONG. I can see the attractions of finding odd bits of Greenwich or Merton, but not urban Essex or Hertfordshire, so I think I'll stick to my bits of Green Chain and London Loop for a bit, though I plan to walk from Woolwich to Erith along the river one day soon
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[User Picture]From: nou
2008-10-15 06:23 pm (UTC)
No worries. I think it'll probably be a couple of years before my A-Z walks get back to lovely South London.
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