FLEETWOOD pub licensee Benny Emsley has called on breweries to do their bit to help struggling pubs.
Benny, who runs the Queens pub on Poulton Road with wife Gail, has seen almost half of Fleetwood’s hostelries shut down in the last few years.
They have been battered by a combination of the smoking ban, cheap beer at supermarkets, the recession and, he says, the cost of the beer they get from the breweries.
Fleetwood man Benny, who has been in the trade 38 years, told the Weekly News: “As experienced licensees Gail and I are doing what we can to keep this place successful, but it’s tough.
“This is a Thwaites pub and although they are better than most, the overheads still do not make it easy.
“Fleetwood has lost the Victoria, the Fleetwood Arms, Gullivers, and before that the Broadway and the Cutty Sark. The Strawberry Gardens is also shut and may not re-open either.”
Benny has tried to counter the tough times by putting on live music on Fridays, karaoke on Saturdays and live football matches on big screens, with opening times now at noon till 11 in the week, and noon till late at weekends.
Thwaites’ Director of Pub Operations Andrew Buchanan said: “Benny and Gail are doing great job of running the Queens and we will continue to support them in every way we can to sustain and grow the business.
“Thwaites is a family run firm, we’re not some faceless corporation, and we’re close to all the issues and the great people running our pubs.
“We will continue to campaign on some of the real challenges facing pubs like tax on beer, and help our landlords and landladies to build thriving businesses.”