You know when we talk about beer and value we talk about the price of hops, whether only snob appeal justifies a forty-three dollar price point and that sort of stuff but we don't really get at the real issue: middlemen. A report today out of the UK's Business and Enterprise Committee highlights another form of the middleman's plumage, the tied pub contract:
An estimated 30,800 pubs - more than half the UK total - are under tied contracts. The arrangement has come in for criticism amid charges that the tie, under which a tenant often pays much higher prices than free houses or managed pub operators, is pushing them out of business. In the report, MPs are demanding greater transparency over rent-setting and an independent system for settling disputes. They want tenants to be given the opportunity to run pubs free of the tie - although the report stopped short of calling for its abolition.
But isn't the house tied to the brewery, you ask? Well, I would think that a brewery with a "real property division" is more absentee landlord than brewery. And in any event the layering of profit of the tied system is no different than the distributors of Pennsylvania or The Beer Store of Ontario. In each case, legal structures are used to create less than open market systems through which a mandated middleman of some sort is put in place and given a cap to have in hand to get their cut. The suits, the board rooms, the expense accounts must be paid for somehow, you know. I'll pay some today when I shell out the 10% "lost mark-up" fee to the LCBO for bringing beer back into Canada from the USA. The form actually says "provincial liquor mark-up fee" but it means lost profits due to me buying beers elsewhere that the government store does not offer. The beast must be fed.
Middlemen. They are a huge price input who provide questionable or illusionary value. They cost you money. Is it not worth noting that it must be the only word not lobbied out of existence in favour of gender neutrality?