As Biz Fizzles, UK Pubs Hit Last Call

Cash-strapped Brits hit up supermarkets for cheaper booze
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2009 8:16 AM CDT
As Biz Fizzles, UK Pubs Hit Last Call
Manchester United soccer supporters celebrate at Sam Platt's pub in Manchester, England, Wednesday, May 21, 2008.    (AP Photo/Jon Super)

A proud British tradition is going down the drain as debt squeezes the two chains that own one-third of UK pubs, the Wall Street Journal reports. Instead of heading to their local establishments, many British drinkers pick up booze with their groceries for about half the price they'd pay at the pub. "The supermarkets are killing trade," says a former pub owner.

After a decade spent buying up watering holes, the chains are now selling or closing hundreds. Industry sources say 39 close each week, and Brits buy 6.7 million fewer pints per day than they did a decade ago. “This cost me £3.50,” complained a British student as he watched a soccer game at a local pub; he says his peers do most of their drinking at home: “It's more economical.”
(Read more United Kingdom stories.)

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