Why would Greene King have such a strange rule?

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Being New Year’s Eve – and my Mother’s 87th Birthday, we have as a family visited the local pub today for lunch. As is likely in much of the country it is a Greene King house – not a problem as the food is quite acceptable for a ‘plastic pub’ and it is nice and handy.

So, no problem so far, and I will confirm at this point that I thought the food was good and the service we received was quite acceptable. However, and this is the reason for my blog – Greene King appear to have a ‘secret’ policy which just does not make any sense.

As a family of 6 dinners ranging in age from 87 to 14 we obviously looked rather a ‘dodgy’ group as we ordered, my stepdaughter was asked for a copy of her ID when we tried to order a cider for her to go with her meal. I was slightly thrown at this point for a number of reasons;

  1. As far as I am aware over 16’s can have certain alcoholic beverages with food.
  2. She is almost 18 (and looks it)
  3. We have ordered cider for her before with food in the same pub previously.
The initial question was then followed up by a visit from the manageress to confirm that they could not serve alcohol to over 16’s as it was Greene King Policy – strange as it is at odds with the law!
The Drinkaware website actually states the law to be as follows;

It is not illegal

  • For someone over 18 to buy a child over 16 beer, wine or cider if they are eating a table meal together in licensed premises.
  • For a child aged 5 to 16 to drink alcohol at home or on other private premises.

My issues with this are various;

Firstly I find it strange that in a family pub this rule is used and also is not notified in any location within the pub that we could see (or on the Greene King website).

Now I am the first to decry the behaviour of the ‘Brit abroad’ and their ability to drink themselves into oblivion at the earliest opportunity. However, in my experience it is not something we see in any other European countries, their kids appear able to ‘deal with’ alcohol – or more accurately they respect it from an early age and don’t feel the need to go on a bender when they finally get the go ahead from the Government at 18. I am sure much of this is down to the way wine and beer forms part of their home life from an early age – it holds no ‘mystique’ to them and is a part of their way of life – not something to be abused.

In my opinion what Greene King are doing is taking away the right of parents to introduce their kids to alcohol in a ‘managed way’. Who are they to tell me how I should deal with this as far as my own kids are concerned? Or do they have a separate agenda?

If they want to keep kids away from alcohol until 18 (despite the law) is it because they want to make sure they keep the binge drinking going in the UK generation by generation?

So Green King let me know why you have such a stupid rule in your public houses? Are you trying to drive the families away that eat your food?

More than ever a reason to support the small ‘non chain’ pubs in your area. And all of our family really enjoyed the glass of champagne they had on Wednesday at a pub south of Sleaford in Lincolnshire – and yes it was a privately owned pub, and the food was amazing.


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