British pubs are disappearing. Here's why

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British pubs are disappearing. Here's why

The British pub industry is in decline and technology is to blame. That's according to the British Beer and Pub Association (BB&PA), which is trying to put the brakes on the industry's near 40 year decline.

A quarter of Britain's pubs have disappeared in the last 35 years. In London, 32 of the city's 33 districts have less bars and pubs than they did in 2001.

"People are spending more time in their homes and the technology and the environment at home is more comfortable than it ever was," David Wilson, director of public affairs for the BB&PA, said.

Some publicans say the smoking ban played a big part in the pubs decline.
Some publicans say the smoking ban played a big part in the pubs decline.

The issue of Britons staying at home, streaming Netflix and drinking supermarket booze joins a growing list of problems that the pub industry is facing.

The indoor smoking ban in 2007 resulted in a rapid decline in pub goers, while a change in tastes towards wine has seen beer consumption fall since 1979.

Across the U.K., people are also drinking less — an obstacle that The Jerusalem Tavern, one of the oldest pubs in London and located in the capital's Clerkenwell district is trying to tackle.

"The younger generation now like to keep themselves fit and I've noticed that there's not so many people drinking at lunch-time." General Manager Daniel Lucas said.

The number of pubs and bars fell from 4,835 in 2001 to just 3,615 in 2016
The number of pubs and bars fell from 4,835 in 2001 to just 3,615 in 2016

The solution for most pubs has been to increase and improve their food offering, "That's pretty much how the majority of the industry is keeping afloat, by the food sales rather than the drinks," Lucas said.

Not everyone in the beer industry is suffering though. The number of independent pubs is actually increasing, which has seen the rise of the micro-brewery directly supplying the beer to the pub. There are now more than 2000 breweries in the U.K. for the first time since the 1930s.

For the large pub groups, however, the outlook is not so rosy. Ei Group, the largest pub owner in the U.K., saw it's pre-tax profits fall 68 percent at the beginning of last year.