Memorandum submitted by Anne Hewitt
I read with great interest your request for
information from licencees regarding concerns with their pubco
"partners in business" as they like to call themselves.
I have several grievences with the way they operate and I shall
try to outline them as briefly as I can.
I cannot understand their pricing structure
and discount system that allows them to charge such inflated prices
for the beer they supply to me as opposed to the cost of buying
locally. For instance if I was to buy an 11 gall of bitter through
Enterprise I would be paying between £20 and £30 more
than I could get it locally and this would not be buying in bulk
but on a like for like basis of one barrel at a time.
I am also at the moment on the SIBA scheme which
allows me to buy cask ales from small breweries around the country
but be invoiced by Enterprise for the beer, this again has a mark
up of around £30 on a 9 gall against what I could buy it
direct for. I have built up my trade on supplying these small
brewery ales and am now well known for this, and I have to say
this is the ONLY thing that has kept me afloat through the recent
demise of the pub trade, however Enterprise in their wisdom are
stopping this facility for me as of the 1st October thus restricting
my trade and enevitably my ability to compete with other outlets
in the area. I have tried unsuccessfully to appeal to them to
take another look into their decision but they seem unable or
unwilling to do so, and the feeling that I am getting is that
they could'nt care less if I go under. I did have to wonder however
if there was an ulterior motive on their part (as I have an old
Whitbread lease which only ties me for beer. I don't have to have
brewlines and I also have a guest pump I can purchase from anywhere)
as they offered to allow me to stay on the SIBA scheme for my
other two hand pumps, if I installed brewlines or gave away my
right to a guest pump, both of which seem like blackmail to me.
The only other alternative reason I can think of is that they
want me to walk away so they can take the lease back and convert
it into one of their own with a tie for everything.
I have also had the pub up for sale, and recently
aquired a buyer, they were a partnership one having the money
and the other many years of experience, however Enterprise would
not allow the assignment, giving about 15 reasons why not all
of which were very superfluous and all of which applied to me
when I took the lease so what is different now. I am unwell and
wish to retire but they seem hell bent on making life as difficult
as possible, and I know there are others in a similar position
to me as there is hardly a pub in my area that is NOT for sale.
Enterprise Inns treat us like wayward employees
when in fact it our own money that we risk if our business fails,
they have no financial outlay as we pay for all repairs and decorating
costs and even have to pay there solicitors and admin fees if
we should be so lucky as to get a buyer they LIKE., not to mention
the dreaded delap list they will present us with. They have spent
the last few years ignoring any delapidations that needed addressing
and allowing assignments to go through without checking if they
have been done, and now they have suddenly realised that they
have a lot of properties in bad repair through there own negligence,
and us poor buggers have now got to pay for their inefficiency
as they have decided it's time to clamp down incase they have
to spend some of their shareholders money putting things right.
We recently read in trade newspapers that the
pubco's were giving millions to tenants in help during this difficult
time, well I think someone must have got mine as our BDM has had
no help to offer or any constructive advice, only telling me where
he is going for the third holiday of the yearI certainly
have had no financial aid from them whatsoever.
I have been fairly lucky however that our reputation
for cask ales has kept us afloat, and now they are even making
that more difficult for us.
I can only hope that we never get a "partner"
than really does'nt like us.
29 September 2008