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Blog: Beer Banter

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: February 10, 2014

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AS highlighted by the current local situation at the Pattenmaker’s Arms in Duffield, tenanted pubs continue to be pressed for ever increasing costs and demands from the breweries and pubcos, many of which now act as property management companies.

The landlady at the Pattenmaker’s since 2006, Claire Muldoon, has turned it into one of the most highly regarded pubs in the area, only this week being named as the Derby CAMRA branch’s Country Pub of the Year.

She is now being hit with a rent increase demand of no less than 42 per cent, a figure which will mean that even as a successful pub, she will lose money if she signs up.

Who would voluntarily run a business that will lose money? The pub owners, Enterprise Inns, say the rental agreement has come up for renewal and they are now entitled to put it to the market for a new agreement, for which the current landlady may be just one bidder.

As her success has meant that this pub has stayed open and thriving – making a decent amount of profit for Enterprise because they have supplied the beer – why should she be penalised with such an unreasonable demand?

She could have run the pub in such a way that it lost money continuously and therefore reduced Enterprise’s profits as well or possibly closed altogether, so that they made nothing from it.

A reasonable company would look at this and negotiate a fair agreement based on the fact their pub has become such a success under the current tenant.

This particular pub has fast become a cause celebre as a typical example of the troubles faced by a lot of pubs these days.

There was a public meeting last Friday in Duffield about the plight of the Pattenmaker’s attended by the local MP, the media and scores of concerned people, but not by any representative from Enterprise.

The pub was also mentioned by name in the House of Commons during a debate about the trade and the problems faced by pubs.

It can only be hoped that the right thing will be done not only for the Pattenmaker’s, but the pub business as a whole.

The pubcos are destroying honest people trying to run decent pubs – they need to be reined in.

Until next time, cheers everyone.

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