THE oldest inn on the Isle of Skye and a modern bar are among the drinking establishments that have been shortlisted for the title of Scottish pub of the year by the Campaign for Real Ale.
The Stein Inn on Skye, which was founded in the 1700s, made the list after being ranked the best pub in the Highlands and Islands.
“No pubs are better examples of fantastic locals than these”Tom Stainer, Camra
The Corbie Inn in Bo’ness, West Lothian, which, by contrast, opened only in 2011, is also in the running.
Glasgow’s State Bar, which hosts the city’s oldest comedy club, the Stockbridge Tap in Edinburgh, the Foresters Arms in Aberdour, Fife, and the Bankfoot Inn in Perthshire, which has a 350-year history, have also been shortlisted for the award, which has been launched as part of Camra’s Community Pubs Month, which runs throughout April.
The Scottish winners of the first round of the competition are part of a 200-strong selection of local pubs around Britain chosen by Camra’s local branches which rated their decor, value for money, customer service and the quality of their real ale.
“Pubs play an essential role in our communities and are clearly very highly valued, but despite this are still being lost at an alarming rate across the UK,” Camra spokesman Tom Stainer said. “The best way people can protect their local’s future is by getting down there and supporting it.
“Community Pubs Month is about highlighting the important role pubs play in community life and no pubs are better examples of fantastic locals than these 200 Camra branch winners. Each one of them has been judged the best in their respective area and are well worth seeking out for any would-be ale lovers.”
A study carried out by Camra found that 75 per cent of pub-goers believe a well-run community pub is as important to community life as a post office, local shop or community centre – but despite this, 29 pubs are still closing in the UK every week.
The global economic recession, as well as the smoking ban and a subsequent trend for more people to drink at home rather than in pubs, have been counted among the reasons for the high number of pub closures. Recent industry figures have shown, however, that the closure rate is lower in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK.
Despite the closures, the demand for real ale has increased in recent years, especially among younger people, driven by a resurgence in the craft beer industry. A recent survey from Camra showed more than a third of people aged 18 to 24 had tried real ale and, of those, 87 per cent would drink it again.
The winner of Camra’s of National Pub of the Year will be announced in early 2016.
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