Monthly Archives: October 2010

ALMR, Bob Neil appointed Community Pubs Minister

Commenting on the announcement of Bob Neill MP as the minister responsible for community pubs, Nick Bish, Chief Executive of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) said:

“We are delighted that Bob Neil has been appointed as Community Pubs Minister. This announcement is recognition by the government of the enormously important role that pubs play in communities across the country.

“Many licensed retailers are facing real difficulties because of the current financial climate and regulatory costs. ALMR looks forward to working with the newly appointed Minister to tackle the challenges facing our industry.

“The government has made clear that encouraging growth and creating jobs is its top priority. As employers of hundreds of thousands of people across the country, pubs and bars can play a key part in helping our national economic recovery, if there is the right regulatory framework and government encouragement for our endeavours.


Notes to editor

  1. The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) is the only national trade body dedicated to representing the interests of pub and bar operators and providing their companieswith business support and advice. 


  1. There are currently 80 companies in membership, between them operating 7,000 outlets of which more than 4,000 are managed operations. The bulk of ALMR membership is drawn from small independent companies operating 50 outlets or fewer under their own branding  


Nick Bish
Chief Executive


Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers

9B Walpole Court, Ealing Studios, London, W5 5ED

tel: 020 8579 2080 or fax: 020 8579 7579 or mob: 07831 778993

Computer Virus, please take note and be careful.

Please Be Extremely Careful especially if using internet mail such as Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL and so on.

This information arrived this morning direct from both Microsoft and Norton.

Please send it to everybody you know who has access to the Internet.

You may receive an apparently harmless email with a Power Point presentation

‘ Life is beautiful. ‘

If you receive it DO NOT OPEN THE FILE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES , and delete it immediately.

If you open this file, a message will appear on your screen saying: ‘It is too late now, your life is no longer beautiful.’

Subsequently you will LOSE EVERYTHING IN YOUR PC and the person who sent it to you will gain access to your name, e-mail and password.

This is a new virus which started to circulate on Tuesday  afternoon.

AOL has already confirmed the severity, and the antivirus software’s are not capable of destroying it.

The virus has been created by a hacker who calls himself ‘life owner ‘


Barrel-Dregs, Brulines have stirred up the GMB (140)



This trading standards protocol should be published in full by local trading standards officers investigating Brulines equipment in pubs says GMB


The Trading Standards protocol for officers testing Brulines equipment in pubs makes clear that  quantities derived using the measuring equipment are “estimated”. The document also says that Brulines claim that the equipment is subject to repeated circumvention. It goes on to specify the arrangements that Trading standards officers should make to have Brulines reps present during inspections. It provides for Brulines to supply information to officers to be kept confidential from the publican making complaints about the accuracy of the equipment.

25,000 tenants are tied to buy beers from the pubcos at wholesale prices that are up to double the free market wholesale prices. Pubcos use flow meters in 25,000 pub cellars, connected to a wireless transmitter to sending data to computers operated by Brulines of Stockton on Tees to monitor the quantity of beer sold in the pub compared to the amount delivered to the same pub by the pubco. Where the volume sold, as measured by the system, is greater than the volume delivered is considered a negative variance and can result in severe penalties for the tenant.

The document says that “in relation to Trading Standards matters, some of these pub chain owners may use the monitoring equipment information to take civil action against individuals running a licensed premise who are acting outside their terms of contract e.g. buying beers from an unauthorised source (out sourced).”

The document adds that “ there has been some evidence that certain pub chain owners quote specific quantities of ‘out sourced’ beer and seek compensation based on this quantity. The quantity tends to be based to some extent on the monitoring equipments readings. It needs to be noted though that the final quantity quoted is very likely to be discounted by various adjustment factors e.g. estimated line cleaning, and estimated stock levels.”

On Trading standards officers testing the equipment in local pubs the document says “ There is no read out on the premise where the equipment is installed making it difficult for officers to test the equipment” and goes on to say .” Brulines may also offer the investigating officer statistical evidence in relation to that premise (which should be kept confidential i.e. not released to the complainant at that time).”

The document says that Brulines have experienced numerous attempts to circumvent or even sabotage the equipment in order to discredit results.”and it lists nine of the most common main techniques that Brulines consider are used to so. A brief summary of the main methods are:

1. By passing the flow meter – This can be done in a number of ways which involve cutting into the beer line either side of the flow meter. This is either done to an individual meter or all meters. Generally a bypass valve is fitted which can redirect the flow around the Brulines flow meter as and when needed.


2. Concealed dispense points – Once the Brulines equipment is installed new unmonitored dispense equipment is installed and used. Whole concealed cellars have been found in the past.


3. Temporary dispense boards – These boards are connected to the spear feed pipe and main gas ring main. They can be installed and removed in a matter of minutes.


4. Magnets – Magnets of differing strengths are used to slow or stop the flow meter.


5. Sabotage – Water can be deliberately sprayed into the EDIS data storage and transfer unit


6. Isolation of the electricity supply – This can be done by removal of the fuse from the EDIS box, or disconnection of the box from the supply.


7. Interfering with the communication link – attempts have been made to damage or cover the antenna interrupting or stopping the transfer of data


8. Use of G clamps – Simply clamping the flow meter and applying pressure to prevent the meter from turning freely. This often leaves tell tale signs but not always.


9. Removal and replacing the flow meter wheel – Dismantling the flow meter and removing the wheel for periods of time.

Hayley Brennan GMB lead officer for tied tenants said “ The Trading Standards protocol confirms what we have all known that Brulines quantities are “estimated”.


The protocol contain arrangements for Trading Standards officers to make arrangements that Brulines be present when officers are inspecting equipment. The requirement for Brulines reps to be present is not a requirement in many other trading standards protocols i.e petrol pumps. The protocol shows the extent to which Brulines are seeking to get public officials to collude with them by supplying information that they want to be kept confidential from tied tenants who ask trading standards to test the equipment in their pubs. This is well out of order.


This trading standards protocol should be published in full by local trading standards officers investigating the Brulines equipment in pubs.


That Brulines report repeated attempts to circumvent the equipment shows the extent of the “undeclared war” in the tied pubs sector. The fee charged for perceived “tampering” of the equipment is £1,350 and it’s a straight forward extortion racket.”


Contact Hayley Brennan 07850 919933 or Paul Clarke 07713 077193 or GMB press office 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823

Notes to Editors

A copy of the full trading standards protocol can be supplied by GMB upon request

Barrel-Dregs, Brulines Confessions. (139)


How often is it that Pot Boy hears of the “well I fessed up, ‘ad no choice, know wot I mean”. Usual con trick of so called irrefutable Brulines data as to buying out. Your lease, your livelihood, kids at school, your sanity all at risk through the accusation that you have been “robbing” your bullying Pubco Partner of supply tied sales. Sign the “confession” and all will be swept under the carpet until your BRM wants to cut up nasty.

You have after all SIGNED A CONFESSION no less!! Well practical and specific and free help is at hand. PB has consulted ‘ mi learned friends in the snug bar six o’clock crowd, all of whom were genuinely shocked (now there’s a thing!) that the Pubcos could be that downright nasty. The three of them came up with a sample letter that anyone who has signed a CONFESSION should use as quickly as possible. It goes like this….

Dear (insert BRM/ARM name),

Re (Pub name and address).

I have no contractual obligations set out in my lease to accept any findings regarding the trade in (insert your pub name) based on information you may obtain from any equipment manufactured by Brulines Plc and installed in my premises by them for your use. It is my understanding that such equipment has not been approved either by Trading Standards or the Weights and Measures authorities for its use in connection with trade, and to do so would be illegal.

Contrary to your allegations, I have not dispensed at my premises any products which ought to have been sourced through your Company which were purchased from elsewhere. It is totally unacceptable for you or your Company to make allegations and threats, as you have done. I invite you to submit any printed evidence that you may have in your possession that would have lead you to make such serious allegations against me. If this evidence is Brulines data I have advice that the data is basically inaccurate and subject to inconsistences due to the crude and simplistic nature of the flow meter, working both in upwards and downwards flows and not differentiating between beer, water and gas.

I am writing to inform you that I am immediately withdrawing any statements, admissions or otherwise that I have made to your Company, orally or in writing.

Please accept this letter as formal notice that I require you and your Company to withdraw the allegations forthwith and in full. I am advised that the very serious allegations and threats you have made, causing both myself and my family deep distress, are of a nature that may later be considered by the appropriate judicial authorities as to be blackmail and demanding money with menaces.

If you persist in pursuing the allegations and threats founded on flawed and unapproved and basically inaccurate data, I shall have no hesitation in taking appropriate legal action naming you personally together with your Company, including informing the Police of your personal actions. I have no doubt that you are aware that the offences to which I refer above are criminal offences which may carry a custodial sentence.

I await your acceptance of the withdrawal of all and any accusations against me.

Yours sincerely.

There you have it. This is the very best that PB could get for my beleaguered correspondents. Brulines is not a legal, Weights and Measures approved means for attempting to fine for allegations of buying out of tie. PBs passim explain the full detail of the inaccuracies of the discredited system. Use to your best advantage and bring yourself back a little sanity.

Tootle Pip !!

Pot Boy

If you would like to Advertise on the Site, please email us at

The views expressed are not necessarily the editors and accepts no responsibility for them, we do try to avoid offensive or litigious statements being made. They are written by concerned professionals in the industry who feel that these issues should be raised to ensure that all licensees are made fully aware of many hidden pitfalls.


Barrel-Dregs, it doesn’t always pay to be totally honest. (138)


A licensee awoke during the night to discover prowlers in his bottle store.He immediately called 999, gave his address, to report the prowlers and possible burglary.The operator at the other end said “Are they in the pub?” He said they were not, only in his bottle store at the back of the pub.

The operator said there were no cars available at that time.

He thanked the operator, hung up the phone and counted to 30 and called again. “I just called you about prowlers in my bottle store. Well you don’t have to worry, my guard dog has savaged one of them and is standing over the other one who is bleeding badly!”

Within seconds there were 3 police cars, an ambulance and fire engine at the scene. After capturing the prowlers red-handed, the policeman asked the caller, “I thought you said your dog had savaged them!” The licensee answered, “I thought you said there were no police available!”

One from the archives, but it might be a useful ploy to get an immediate response.


Barrel-Dregs, Two more “Lambs to the Slaughter”.(137)

Barfly had a meeting with a commercial lawyer last week, who was desperately trying to do the best for his clients, who had made the usual error of falling in love with the pub for the wrong commercial reasons.

The Pub Co that owned the pub was not a regular feature in Barrel-Dregs, but had incensed Pot Boy and his aides on the odd occasion.

They were doing a gloss and polish job on the pub, misspelt as a major refurb, the learned solicitor had told his clients to have a survey to ensure the structure, electricals etc. were up to scratch and everything else under the paint and gloss, sadly the usual tale from the company mouthpiece we are doing everything, (at least with a paint brush and cheap furniture polish).

Needless to say his clients in the interest of costs are not having a survey, he had advised them to talk to Barfly and his team, no chance.

The company mouthpiece, who by now is getting jumpy at the thought of the slightest risk of a survey, pulls another stroke and tells our over enthusiastic mugs that if they don’t sign the lease they won’t get the pub.

Panic from our mugs, the legal work has not been completed, questions on the lease have not been responded to by the Pub Co’s solicitors.

The company mouthpiece then says, why waste time with a solicitor it costs you money and the company will not change the lease, you take it or leave it.

Two more wide eyed “Lambs to the Slaughter”.

We are getting more cases of Pub Co’s solicitors delaying tactics whether intentionally or by lack of information, causing frustration to the would be lessees and pressure from the company man, pushing to avoid surveys and in depth legal questions and a take it or leave it lease alternative.

As the “Common Sense Guide to Buying a Pub” says, buying a pub is like marriage, “Marry in Haste and repent at Leisure”.

Our honest opinion is that leases from Pub Co’s are minefields and the failure rate is not a recommendation for the Industry.

Take a tenancy with a reputable brewer, sadly we are short of recommended Pub owning companies and we are working on it, the Industry is changing and anyone signing a lease against his solicitors’ advice may find themselves with a monster by the tail in the future.

A tenancy with a decent company will assure you of advice, training and expertise, when you are fully streetwise and experience you may consider a lease, hopefully with a decent company.

If you do take a Tenancy at Will with a Pub Co at a cheap rent, ensure that if you sign a lease the rent and conditions legally tied down before you start.



If you would like to Advertise on the Site, please email us at

The views expressed are not necessarily the editors and accepts no responsibility for them, we do try to avoid offensive or litigious statements being made. They are written by concerned professionals in the industry who feel that these issues should be raised to ensure that all licensees are made fully aware of many hidden pitfalls.


Poppleston Allen, The NEW (2010 edition) Licensed Trade Guide

Poppleston Allen UK (Popall)

Licensed Trade eNews
News on the law affecting the licensed trade delivered direct to your desktop.

The NEW (2010 edition) Licensed Trade Guide

The NEW (2010 edition) Licensed Trade Guide for The Licensing Act 2003 is a revision of the handy pocket-sized (15cm x 10.5cm) easy reference tool, much loved by licensees, police officers and enforcement officials alike. It provides some basic guidelines to the areas where difficulty most frequently arises and is written in easy to read bite-sized chunks…with pictures.

We are offering all existing eNews subscribers an exclusive offer of £4 (55% discount) for the new LTG 2010.

This NEW edition features a brand new chapter on Gaming in Pubs as well as a general update on the rest of the contents which include; information on the Licensing Authority, General Principles, Personal and Premises Licenses, Club Premises Certificates, Temporary Event Notices, Rights of Entry and Inspection, Police Powers, Crime on Licensed Premises, Trading Standards and Food & Drinks Provisions and a glossary of terms.

To order your discounted LTG 2010 please click on the link below:

CPL, Progressive, convenient E-Learning, a practical step forward.

Training can be done very effectively in house with E-Learning.

The Kingfisher employs 27 people on a part-time and full-time basis and all staff are required to complete courses covering compliance training from CPL E-Learning in areas such as health & safety and manual handling. Pub manager, Carolyn Brown has encouraged her team to log on to the CPL E-learning site in their quieter times or in between split shifts to complete the courses on the pub’s laptop.

She commented: “It has been easy to encourage everyone to complete courses. They are well designed, using avatars, 3D graphics and interactive tasks to guide you through the topics. They have made an impact too on our working practices. They have been great refresher courses for me but they have also been real eye-openers for the team and we have all been cleaner and safer as a result.

Staff at the pub were even able to put their new skills to the test recently. Carolyn explained: “At a recent beach party barbecue, the barbecue caught fire and the team on duty reacted calmly and efficiently, choosing the correct extinguisher and putting out the fire. They had a round of applause from our customers!”

The real commercial advantage comes when this basic training is complete and Carolyn can really spend time on developing the customer service aspects of the roles. She concluded: “It will definitely free up more of my time and I’d love to see more courses coming on stream as we go forward.”

Bar supervisor, Ben Jackson has completed all seven courses. He reckons that he’s much more aware of hygiene practices now when walking into the kitchen and enjoyed the fact that he hasn’t had to trek to head office for a half-day course. He added: “I’ve done my courses on the pub laptop in between split shifts. They were straightforward to do and really helpful.”

For more information about taking any of the online courses or bespoke solutions please go to: or call 0151 650 6910.

CPL E-Learning brings food safety level 2, health and safety level 2, manual handling, fire marshalling, Underage Sales Prevention, Drugs Awareness, Age Verification and the Scottish Award for Licensed Premises Staff to an online audience for a much reduced rate of between £30 – £35 per course. 

Lisa Harlow

John Gaunt & Partners, Licensing Specialists

JOHN GAUNT & PARTNERS is a legal practice operating throughout England, Wales and Scotland and deals only in licensed and entertainment, gambling and associated regulatory matters. 

Established in 1995, we provide a dedicated, first class, pro-active and cost effective service to meet the needs of those active in the leisure industry, both in the on and off licensed trade and in the gaming industry.

We have a resource, substantially unmatched elsewhere in the Country, comprising a team of 7 Solicitors, 6 para-legals each dedicated to specified types of licence applications and supported by administrative staff.

This resource gives us the ability to ensure that we can provide a fast response of service at any time of the day or night, appreciating that the nature of the business in which we operate is not limited to office hours – and neither are we.  

We operate a 24/7 helpline, manned outside office hours by one of our Licensing Solicitors.

We have an acknowledged reputation of being willing to attend any where, at any time.

In the newly issued edition of the “Legal 500” (widely acknowledged as one of the leading independent guides to the legal profession, the firm is again recognised as a “first tier” licensing practice and with all four of our Partners recommended for licensing. 

No other practice specialising in Licensing has so many individuals so mentioned.  (Legal 500 September 2010). 

Our web site – – is a source of information about the licensing regimes within which we have to operate but also gives further details of the services which we offer.  It also contains a topical new section, always up to date. 

We also issue e-mail updates from time to time on matters of topical interest – if you would like to receive these direct, please register (without obligation) at  

Our acclaimed booklet, the “Little Red Book”, has been revised and updated to reflect recent changes in the licensing laws – and now becomes the Little Book of Licensing Tips. Aimed principally at premises managers, it is a useful guide to licensing ‘good housekeeping’ and basic due diligence. Copies are available free of charge on request.  Please let us know if you would like a copy or indeed a few.

Contact details :  

Telephone 0114 2668 664

24 hour helpline:  0114 2663400

Fax: 0114 2679613

E-mail :

Barrel-Dregs, Brulines-Flowmeter Home Truths. (136)


Pot Boy has had a large number of e-mails asking what the very devil is a flow meter and how does it work, seeing as how so very much reliance is placed on the “spy in the cellar” by the Pubcos. Consulting my RAF engineering chum, ironically over a couple of pints of Spitfire (no pun intended I might add), PB got the low down of exactly what happens. All a bit technical I am afraid, but worth the telling!!

The Brulines flow meter installed in virtually all the tied pubs in the land is nothing more than a simple, and cheap, Pelton wheel turbine device and is manufactured by Titan Enterprises of Sherborne, Dorset.(Check out their website

Pub flow meters are from the 800 series and are described by Titan as a mini turbine. The most popular is the Mini Turbine 824 in the Titan range. How it works is pretty simple. As liquid or gas flows through the meter it impinges on the rotor which has six blades causing it to rotate. Embedded in the rotor are three magnets which links to a powerful sensing device. As the rotor rotates, could be backwards as well as forwards, the magnets move past the stationary sensing device causing a series of voltage pulses, known as the Hall effect principle. By counting the number of pulses generated the volume of whatever has passed through the meter can be quantified.

The pulse frequency, or “k” factor which is pulses per unit volume is produced by calibration which is set when the unit leaves the factory. This has to be rechecked when the meter is installed in the cellar and should be rechecked by a qualified technician at least every six months. The meter cannot distinguish between beer, water or gas because any of the three or a combination makes the rotor move in either direction. Movement of the rotor will generate voltage pulses and measure “units” not distinguishing what made the rotor move in the first place!! Indeed by simply blowing into the meter with very little effort, the rotor can be made to rotate.

The nominal k factor advised by Titan is 1120 pulses per litre or 636 pulses per pint. Independent tests have shown that the Titan 824 had an average k factor of 1600 pulses per litre, substantially different from the factory based calibration. If the meter does not have any external markings it means that the unit would not have been factory calibrated by Titan and that a nominal k factor would not have been provided. Although Titan confirm that the meter components are of moulded construction, the nominal k factor should be able to be applied in the cellar set up by a suitably qualified technician. This is because the tolerances applied during manufacture should make the “setting up” a straightforward process. Independent tests do not seem to support the confidence of the boys at Titan. Don’t forget this is a very cheap piece of kit.

Meters are connected to a central panel in the pub. The panel is connected to a wireless transmitter from which data is sent to Brulines. The precise nature of the data transfer and the times at which it takes place have not been revealed by Titan. At some point in the process, a conversion of the data takes place. Each meter generates a number of pulses as the rotor turns. Using the meter k factor, the pulses can be converted into a volume equivalent, by dividing the number of pulses generated by the k factor. The precise nature of the data conversion is not known. It’s at the conversion point that the errors occur. If there is an error in the k factor, this error will be transferred directly (and with the same magnitude) to the volume figure. The Pubcos treat the resultant data as gospel, set in tablets of stone, and beyond reproach. Here the system and its inherent inaccuracies falls apart.

Phew !! PB needs a lie down in a cool dark cellar after that lot. A good rub down with a cold wet Brulines report might be appropriate !!

Pot Boy.

If you would like to Advertise on the Site, please email us at

The views expressed are not necessarily the editors and accepts no responsibility for them, we do try to avoid offensive or litigious statements being made. They are written by concerned professionals in the industry who feel that these issues should be raised to ensure that all licensees are made fully aware of many hidden pitfalls.