Southwold-based Adnams boss talks of pressure on small rural pubs

PUBLISHED: 13:11 06 August 2014 | UPDATED: 13:11 06 August 2014

Jonathan Adnams, chairman of Adnams

Jonathan Adnams, chairman of Adnams


Small rural pubs have come under increasing pressure as people continue to cook and drink at home, the Adnams boss has said as the brewer’s pre-tax profits fell 35pc for the first half of this year.

But the Southwold-based business still saw beer volumes surge and turnover rise as people headed out to enjoy a drink in the sunshine.

Adnams has sold just one of its pubs currently on the market in six months to June 30, hitting property profits. But chairman Jonathan Adnams said small village pubs no longer worked for the brewer.

“The internet has revolutionised people’s lives – how they want to communicate and meet. We have to recognise that village pubs have been under stress now for seven years,” he said.

“Rising costs are part of the picture, increasing taxation on alcoholic products over the years make drinking out expensive compared to home.

“There has been a dramatic social change, particularly in rural areas, rather than in the more urban areas where you walk around the corner to the pub.

“In rural areas getting people to go out in their cars on weekdays is a problem, and I don’t see it changing too much. I think we see that the model where smaller rural pubs work for Adnams is no longer the case.” Moves to put is staff on a living wage have also come with quite a big price tag, Mr Adnams said.

The company is aiming to increase what is pays staff to a new measure calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK.

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After the BBC published the salaries of its highest earners, the issue of pay transparency has come to the fore. But whether a more open discussion about wages will bring benefits to businesses is not a clear-cut issue. BETHANY WHYMARK reports.

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