The BBC's home editor has written an editorial examining evidence that whilst traditional pubs are closing at a rate of 52 a week, new licensed establishments are filling the gaps.
In his article 'Pubs aren't dying - they are evolving', Mark Easton shows that according to the national data, the number of premises licensed for on-sales has actually been increasing. However the types of premises is changing, 'wet-led' establishments i.e pubs that don't serve food, are being replaced by "branded pubs and café style bars" or even being re-catergorised as restaurants if they begin to sell food regularly.
Easton highlights that complex coding systems mean that the data can be easily manipulated, and the picture on what is really happening to the pub trade is complex. However he suggests that really it is only the old style smoky boozer that is on its way out;
However whilst this meets objectives of the 2003 licensing act and national alcohol strategy, a more sinister trend may be revealed by a comment from Jon Collins of the leading industry analysts CGA Strategy:
"If your whole market is 50-60 year-old males who have two pints and a smoke in the boozer on the way home from work, you are going to struggle. Now those customers are buying four cans of cheap lager from the supermarket and having a cigarette in their own home."
With alcohol consumption trends increasingly shifting to the home over the last decade, should policy better recognise the hidden impact of alcohol consumption in the home?