PUBS must diversify or die, says a top Huddersfield landlord.
The latest surveys have revealed that five Yorkshire pubs are closing every week.
And John Sutcliffe, publican of the successful White Cross, at Bradley, says times have never been tougher.
Some 126 pubs in the county closed in the latter half of 2008 according to research from the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) released last Thursday.
Mr Sutcliffe, who has run the White Cross for nearly 10 years, believes the days of pubs which only serve drinks are over.
He also blames the Government for imposing restrictive taxes on beer, supermarkets for offering irresponsible cheap booze deals and unscrupulous breweries for employing unsuitable landlords.
But John believes pubs like his own, which serve real ales and good food, will survive the recession.
The White Cross held its sixth annual beer festival with 15 real brews to raise cash for Dalton’s Kirkwood Hospice, a charity which the pub has previously supported.
John said: “I think we’ve survived because we do good food and beer and we don’t tolerate idiots.
“But it’s certainly not like it used to be.
“The Government thinks pubs are the sole cause of binge drinking and we’re not, it’s the supermarkets.
“The smoking ban hasn’t helped but we’ve had an increase on the food side.
“If pubs don’t diversify they will die. Our beer festival helped bring people in, we do a limited selection of food and a good Sunday lunch which brings people in.
“We’ve got dominoes and quiz teams which bring trade. We try to accommodate everyone where we can.
“It’s sad but I don’t think solely drinking pubs will survive. “I think we’ll survive. I’m touching wood as I say it but we’ve got to have that attitude.”
Nearly five pubs are closing every week in Yorkshire, according to British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) figures.
In total, 126 Yorkshire pubs closed their doors for the last time in the second half of 2008 – the third highest number for any region in Britain.
The BBPA believes unless the Government pulls back from further alcohol tax increases and red-tape, then pub closures and job losses will escalate further.
A total of 39 pubs are shutting every week in Britain, three more than last year, including 19 in suburbs, eight in town centres and the rest in rural areas.
The BBPA, which represents the brewing and pub industry, criticised the Government over increases in beer taxes and millions of pounds of extra costs in red tape.
BBPA chief executive Rob Hayward said: “With pubs closing at a record rate and job losses escalating, it is truly staggering that the Government is proposing to hit the sector with a £300m bill for extra red tape this year alone.”