Brits' iconic pubs on the way out

As the old phrase goes, there will always be an England. However, it won't always be the same England.

Right now, one of the country's greatest icons, the local pub, is in trouble. Five British pubs go out of business every day, according to the British Beer & Pub Association, as the weak economy continues to affect all aspects of life.

Beer sales at pubs, known as "on-trade,'' fell 8.1% in the third quarter. Translated into actual drinks, that's a reduction of 1.1 million pints a day. That's a direct reflection of the fact that the British economy contracted last quarter for the first time in 16 years.

I reported on this same problem earlier this year, and the latest report offers no improvement.

Beer at the locals is much more expensive than buying beer "off-trade," that is in grocery and liquor stores, where 45% of all beer is sold. However, sales there also have declined, 6% in the last quarter, according to the BBPA.

Spirits, which traditionally sell better in stores than in pubs, have a better outlook. Industry analysts say this is because spirits purchasers tend to be more affluent.

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