Columnist Mick Dennison: Storm brewing for publicans

Pub landlord Mick Dennison
Pub landlord Mick Dennison

Happy New Year. As the country braces itself for the unseasonal weather that is battering the west coast, us publicans are ourselves waiting anxiously for a storm of a different type – a quiet January and February.

Traditionally, the months immediately after Christmas tend to be slow in the pub trade as the bills come in to prove how much of a drain the festive period is on everyone’s pocket.

To add more woe to this expected lull, there is now a campaign by Cancer Research, which asks us all to stay off the alcohol in January to raise money for the charity.

I have absolutely no issues about giving to charity as I helped to raise money for Cancer Care when I first moved into the York in 2007. During that time, my very generous customers took part in an event that raised money whilst we all had a drink at the same time.

Indeed most of the charity events all of us local publicans have organised over the years have included a sociable night as well; it’s a great recipe for loosening the pockets!

It just seems that as you take one step forward in the trade you end up being kicked in the teeth and stagger back two paces. Maybe the supermarkets will lead the way and close off their alcohol aisles in January – I think not.

We are informed by CAMRA there are half a million reasons to visit the pub this January. Never mind the great real ale, great company and great times, there are some great economic reasons to visit your local too. Pubs and bars employ 500,000 people across Britain adding £19billion a year into the economy plus over £100million raised for charities. Therefore, although it is a quiet time, your local still needs your support.

My own personal D-Day is fast approaching, this Thursday in fact, as I embark on a month’s sponsored slim for the Morecambe Poppyscatter fund. York regular Darren Walker is supporting me but we are definitely NOT giving up alcohol completely, just cutting down.

The Poppyscatter group are trying to raise £136.904 and 30 pence, one penny for every service member killed during WW1. Funds raised will be donated to the Royal British Legion and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Sponsor forms are available from the York if you want to get involved.