For the younger amongst you, I’ll point out that off-licences didn’t use to be as numerous as they are now. And that pretty much 100% of pubs sold drinks to be consumed off the premises. So they were to some extent in direct competition with shops, especially for beer sales.
'WOULD BE UNFAIR TO INNKEEPERS'
Minchinhampton Off Licence Refused
OPPOSED by the local innkeepers whose view was that it represented unfair competition, an application made to the Nailsworth Licensing Justices yesterday Mr. Frederick John Jarman, on behalf of World's Stores Ltd., Market-place, Henley-on-Thames, for an off-licence to sell bottled beer at Walker's Stores, Minchinhampton, was refused.
Mr. Conway Clifford (briefed by Messrs. Winterbotham, Ball and Gadsden) represented the applicant and he suggested that as the shop had an off-licence to sell wines and spirits it would be odd If they were not allowed also to sell bottled beer and cider.
Mrs. C. G. Tombs, the manageress of the shop, said there was a demand from customers for beer and cider.
Mr. Clifford, who said there were 15 customers in Court who were prepared to support the application, called three of them, —Mrs. Winifred Howell, High-st., Minchinhampton; Mrs. Ivy Florence Rimes, Avening, and Mrs. Lilian Fletcher, Gatcombe, Minchinhampton who agreed it would be a convenience if the licence were granted.
The application was opposed by Mr. J. Lapage Norris, who appeared for the Stroud and District Licensed Victuallers Association and the Minchinhampton innkeepers. The needs of the district, he said, were adequately met by the existing licensed houses and he suggested that it would be unfair for the local innkeepers to be subjected to competition from a big combine.
Mr. Harold Bird, secretary of the Licensed Victuallers Association said there were seven Inns within 100 yards of Walkers Stores; supplies were adequate and the licensees were prepared, if necessary, to deliver.
Mr. H. T. Farmer, licensee of the Salutation Inn said supplies of beer were in excess of demand and innkeepers were to-day finding it difficult to sell as much as the limited war-time allocations.
A letter was read from the Clerk of the Minchinhampton Parish Council intimating that the Council was not in favour of the application and Supt. W. Hart said in the opinion of the police Minchinhampton was well catered for at the present time.
Refusing to grant the application, the Chairman (Mr. G. W. Powell) said the Court considered a case had not been made out.”
Gloucester Citizen - Friday 10 February 1950, page 6.
Seven pubs within 100 yards? There doesn’t seem to be a single pub in Minchinhampton today.
During the war, with brewers limited in the amount of beer they were allowed to brew, they effectively rationed the amount of beer a pub could get. But with a fall in beer sales after the war ended, the shortage of beer disappeared. Meaning pubs were selling quite a bit less beer than they had before 1939. At that level of sales some pubs were undoubtedly struggling to turn a profit.
Here are some numbers to show how many more off-licences there are now than in the 1950’s:
|Licences in England and Wales 1945 - 2004|
|Date||Pub licences||Off Licences||total||% off licences|
|Brewers' Almanack 1971, page 83.|
|2011 Statistical Handbook of the BBPA, page 74|
At one time off-licences had been almost as difficult to obtain as a pub licence. When it was made easier, the number of off-licences increased significantly, as you can see in the table.
Nowadays, of course, it’s impossible for a pub to compete with supermarkets for off sales. Which is why pub off-licence departments have disappeared.