Drinkers seek fair deal for pubs

Alice Waltham enjoys a pint at the Scottish Real Ale Festival in Edinburgh. Picture: Esme Allen
Alice Waltham enjoys a pint at the Scottish Real Ale Festival in Edinburgh. Picture: Esme Allen
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CAMPAIGNERS are preparing to lobby Scottish ministers to ensure that proposals to stop pub companies from “abusing” their publicans will apply north of the Border.

The UK government is consulting on plans to introduce a code of conduct and an adjudicator that will resolve disputes between pubcos and bar managers, who are tied into contracts to rent pubs and buy specific beers.

The Scottish Government is understood to be in talks with the coalition to make sure the rules will apply throughout the UK, but campaigners are waiting in the wings to lobby for similar plans to be introduced at Holyrood if need be.

Colin Valentine, national chairman of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), said: “We need to do some more work to compile specific figures for Scotland to help make the case.”

His comments come as the Scottish Real Ale Festival, the largest event for the country’s brewing industry, draws to a close today. A record number of drinkers have passed through the doors of the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh since Thursday, with an estimated 4,000 visitors sampling beers from 58 breweries.

Valentine said: “When I first got involved 20 years ago there were only ten breweries. Now there are 60, with 11 new ones at the festival this year – some of them weren’t even launched a year ago.”

Stephen Crossland, who runs the Loch Ness Brewery in Drumnadrochit, added: “The festival is good for meeting other brewers and sharing experience. But it’s also great fun and it’s good to support Camra and its work.”