New licensing laws are changing the way punters drink

30 November 2006 by
New licensing laws are changing the way punters drink

The new licensing laws are changing the drinking habits of pub-goers, as they increasingly opt to stay in their local boozer, according to new research.

To mark the anniversary of the new drinking laws (24 November) the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) released research on the drinking preferences of more than 2,000 English and Welsh consumers.

The YouGov poll found that since the changes were introduced, nearly a quarter (23%) of drinkers were now more likely to stay in their local pub, rather than travel into towns or city centres to continue drinking.

Among the 18- to 29-year-old group this figure was even higher, at 36%.

The BBPA research also found that one in five people (21%) now felt under less pressure to drink quickly and this was leading to a gradual shift towards a more Continental-style nightlife, with people going out later.

BBPA chief executive Rob Hayward said that although it was early days, people's drinking habits seemed to be changing for the better.

"Consumers don't seem to be drinking more, but they are increasingly favouring their local, reducing the pressure on town centres," Hayward said. "Younger drinkers are also going out later and taking more time to enjoy their drinks."

This survey's findings contrasted with the apocalyptic predictions of the doom-and-gloom merchants, he added, as the change in licensing laws had not unleashed a free
for all.

Last week licensing minister Shaun Woodward agreed the initial signs surrounding the new alcohol laws were promising. The latest research shows more than 200,000 premises have their licences and certificates in place so far, with less than 2% - about 3,000 premises - holding 24-hour licences. Roughly half of all premises close by midnight and 80% shut by 1am.

For more on licensing change go here >>]( was it for you?"I'm positive about what we have now after the inevitable struggles involved in setting up the machine to start. Certainly at the beginning it seemed the left hand didn't know what the right was doing in local government." *Peter Elyes, chief executive, Cross Oak Inns* "Shoddy pub operators have been held to account and have had to address issues such as health and safety, which is good. But it's frustrating that councils, some of which were brilliant and some of which were so shocking they still haven't delivered all the paperwork, haven't been held to account themselves." *Alex Hughes, operations manager, Capital Pub Company* "As a restaurateur it has made little difference to me. We've pretty much kept the trading hours we had before, although we are paying a fair bit more now. The solicitors have done well, though." *Steven Walker, chief executive, Individual Restaurant Company.* *By Chris Druce* E-mail your comments to [Chris Druce]( here. [Get your copy of *Caterer and Hotelkeeper* every week - ](
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