I’m sorry if you’ve been avidly following the front page of our website, and had got yourself all revved up to walk up the North side of the Wharfe valley this Thursday evening! We had previously planned a ‘meet the brewer’ night at The Horse and Farrier, but then the original brewery couldn’t make it, so we were going to visit The Roebuck and The Yew Tree instead. HOWEVER – Ilkley Brewery kindly stepped into the breach, so it’s back to Plan A – sitting in The Horse and Farrier all night! Of course, there’s nothing to stop you walking up the hill and back down, having a couple of pints on the way, and then joining us afterwards. Indeed, it would probably be good for you! We, on the other hand, will be sampling these – [THE TASTING WILL BEGIN AT 7:30 pm]





HICKORY REDCAP [Pecan porter!]



MAYAN [Chocolate and Chipotle Stout!] MMMMayan – I love it!

There will be a nominal cost (tba) for the event, but it will be well worth it for all the beers you’ll be sampling, and for the erudite comments from the brewer while you’re at it!

And lovers of The Roebuck and The Yew Tree [and they are many] needn’t worry – we’ll be going there on April 2nd instead. It will be a lot lighter for walking there and back [as British Summer Time begins on the previous Sunday], and possibly a bit warmer as well – so put that in your diary now!

The Horse and Farrier, for those who still haven’t been there, is a big relaxed pub with comfy leather chairs round the log burning fire at one side, and tables on a raised area at the other where you can try out their fine pub food. Completely refurbished a few years ago, when the name was changed from The Three Horseshoes, it has a wide range of real ales and bottled beers. If the weather’s fine there’s a large ‘beer garden’ at the back with plenty of tables – handy if you still have a craving for the odd cigarette. It’s just a five minute walk down towards the river from the bus station, it’s right next to ‘the Lix’ car park, and it even has a few parking spaces right behind the pub itself.


As if Al Murray’s FUKP party wasn’t enough, the Beer, Baccy and Crumpet Party is now hoping to have a candidate standing in every Parliamentary constituency! Beer – because they want the excise duty on draught beer and other draught drinks reduced to zero. This would allow them to compete with supermarkets on price and save more pubs from extinction [as I tweeted, coincidentally, a couple of weeks ago]. Baccy – because they want to see smoking in pubs re-introduced in properly ventilated areas, to attract customers who have been driven away in the past. Crumpet – not whatever you might have thought, but their other policy areas: Countryside, Rates, Utilities, Motoring, Pensions, Employment and Taxation! They claim to “have a quirky name but also have serious political objectives”, which I might have taken more seriously if they had managed to get disgraced MP Chris Huhne’s name right on their home page!



Two articles in the Publican’s Morning Advertiser discuss the other stimuli that might be responsible for pub trade falling, rather than just the influence of the ‘Pubcos’ who own a large proportion of the buildings. The first, by Robert Beale, head of valuation service associate at Vickery Holman blames the smoking ban, increases in taxation and the general recession for falling pub trade over the past few years. He says “it’s a shame the pubs code has been proposed at a point when the market is beginning to find early recovery”. The second, by leading leisure analyst Simon French of Cenkos on the other hand, claims that the biggest threats facing the pub sector at the moment are the 3 Ss – Supermarkets, Sofas and Social media. Great soundbite, maybe, but I assume Simon never visits pubs himself, or he would know that a large proportion of them do now provide a free wi-fi service. What’s more, heavy social media users generally have a phone contract that offers unlimited data. Supermarkets and sofas are the same thing – people drinking at home because of the price difference [see B,B & C party manifesto above for an answer to that one!]


The bad – At the end of January, a Parliamentary vote to prevent all pubs being demolished or converted without planning permission was narrowly defeated. The good [as I already reported in the February Newsletter] – A proposed change in the law meaning that pubs in England listed as ACVs by communities cannot be demolished or have their use changed without planning permission. And following on from that piece in the Newsletter, I can report that OPC did in fact apply for ACV nomination for all Otley’s 20 pubs, on Friday the 20th of Feb, (as this article reports – with a rather fetching photo of our President and Chairman outside Leeds Civic Hall.)


[Yes, I know Christmas seems a long time ago now, but] have you heard of ‘Allegra Strategies’? Apparently they have an ‘Eating Out Panel’ – “the first ever online consumer data panel dedicated solely to the highly dynamic UK eating out marketplace. (It) tracks consumer behaviour, perceptions and trends on a monthly basis to provide the UK’s most accurate and insightful continuous dataset on eating out trends. Each month the panel provides a fully representative sample of 6,000 consumers across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.” Apparently this fully representative sample has shown that 1 in 6 of all UK adults ate out on Christmas Day in 2014. Well I know many, many more than 6 adults, and my own experience certainly doesn’t bear that out. When you then see that the majority of Christmas Day diners were under 35, and predominantly living in London, you wonder whether the sample was ‘fully representative’ after all!


Always keep an eye on our website for more news, and updates on future meetings [which are usually correct!] I hope more of you will be able to join us this Thursday at 7:30pm at The Horse and Farrier, and I look forward to seeing you there.

Bob Brook

OPC Secretary

O2 Mar 2015

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