Mick Dennison column

Mick Dennison.
Mick Dennison.

As usual I was trawling through the trade press last week and came across two articles that caught my eye.

Peers in the House of Lords have been debating several new measures relating to changes to be made to the mandatory licencing conditions. It led to Lord Kennedy of Southwark to say that off trade promotions (those of supermarkets and off licences) should be addressed to reduce alcohol related crime.

Landlords have been crying that from the rooftops for years as incredible discounting by supermarkets have led to beer being sold at prices lower than water. Sadly, the general public do not see the damage that is being done to the social fabric of their local areas.

Walk into any supermarket or off licence chain and you will see a beer mountain either at the entrance or at the end of the aisles – they are basically giving it away. The reply from the bigger pub chains is to also stack it high in the cellar and sell it cheap, the smaller independents and tenancies do not have a fighting chance.

The debate highlighted the fact that the cost of alcohol-fuelled crime in England and Wales is £11billion, which was branded as unacceptable. It was also said that irresponsible promotions in supermarkets contributed to more people drinking unsupervised at home, which can lead to more cases of domestic violence.

Supermarkets have killed the traditional High Street – I wonder if the local pub will go down the same route?

I don’t know about supermarkets killing my industry, it could well be technology as Honda have unveiled a robot that can open bottles and serve drinks – could this be the barman of the future? The latest in a series of humanoid robots comes with dexterous, multi-fingered hands.

Personally, could a robot give you a hot tip in the two forty-five at Haydock, tell you what buttons you need to hold on the fruit machine or dish out marriage guidance advice – I doubt it.

Mind you, I bet their timekeeping is immaculate...must mention that to my staff.