Tap me up, tie me down

Two articles caught me eye today. Acorn Brewery have re-opened a former Enterprise Inns pun, Old No. 7 in Barnsley, as their 'brewery tap'.

Meanwhile, the Institute for Public Policy Research has released a report that calls for reform to the tied-lease model of pub company operations.

It's great to see breweries investing in a pub, whether it's buying outright or entering a deal such as Everards' Project William. Is this something that more microbrewers ought to take more seriously? After all, what better way is there of showcasing their beers?

With the tied-lease model under increasing pressure, is there room in the future for brewers to approach pubcos and explore shared-lease options? For pubcos to actively court microbrewers with an eye towards such shared ventures? How about pubcos identifying premises that may even be suitable for micro/nano brewing?

By themselves, such initiatives won't square the ever-decreasing circle of tied-pub profitability. But it may well be the model that encourages ever more entreprenueral approaches to managing the tie in the future. Because, for some licensees, there doesn't seem to be that much of a future left anymore.