PUBLICANS have hailed the announcement of a freeze on alcohol duty as ‘brilliant,’ but say ‘more could be done.’

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt announced that that alcohol duty has been frozen until next August in his autumn statement. 

Sophie Gardiner, who manages the Boot, Hardy’s Hophouse and Gezzini in Weymouth, said: “Over the last eight years in Weymouth, nightlife especially has been on a massive decline. It’s completely different now. We lost all our nightclubs along the seafront.

“On a Friday night, it’s often absolutely dead, and Saturdays are not too bad.”

Sophie explained that this move will particularly benefit Gezzini as it’s independently run saying ‘it’s brilliant and will benefit me a lot.’

Dorset Echo: GezziniGezzini (Image: Gezzini)

The pub manager said that she’s seen a drastic change in people’s drinking habits since Covid, particularly with people asking, ‘how much is a pint of this?.’

“There’s always been people asking but nothing like what it is now. Probably around 90 per cent of customers that come into my pubs now ask – It’s really noticeable.

“Ever since Covid, people actually seem to stay at home and don’t seem to come out to pubs as much.”

Lyn Mackenzie, landlady of the Belvedere Inn on High West Street in Weymouth, also welcomes this move, but explained that those in the pub trade are still facing major struggles.

Dorset Echo: The Belvedere InnThe Belvedere Inn (Image: Lyn Mackenzie)

She said: “It’s a step in the right direction. Hopefully it will make a difference in some way, we need all the help we can get.

“People just don’t have the money – going to the pub is a luxury nowadays.

“It would be nice if they did something about electricity prices. I’m paying four times the amount I was a year ago. However, it is a good thing that they have done it and on a positive note, we have a lot of Christmas parties and bookings.”

Katy Jones, landlady of Tom Browns in Dorchester, noted that the freeze shouldn’t impact them too much as they are more of a live music and events venue.

Dorset Echo: Tom BrownsTom Browns (Image: Tom Browns)

However, she is pleased with the move and said: “It’s good news as everything keeps going up and nothing stays the same or goes down.”

Katy agreed that Covid followed by the cost of living crisis was a ‘massive thing for Tom Brown’s like many other pubs, but this year is ‘looking forward to a good season.’