Pub in Kilburn to pull pints for the last time in protest at “unfair charges” set by leaseholder

Black Lion staff .
L-R: Eva Tatrai, Brian Mannion and Eva Lesiak

Black Lion staff . L-R: Eva Tatrai, Brian Mannion and Eva Lesiak - Credit: Archant

The Black Lion in Kilburn High Road will now serve only bottled beer

A pub in Kilburn will pull its final pint next week following a dispute with its leaseholders over the price they are forced to pay for their supplies of draught beer.

After 800 years, The Black Lion in Kilburn High Road plans to remove its taps and serve only bottled beers.

The pub is a “tied house” managed by Enterprise Inns, a property company which leases pubs to tenants. It owns about 6,000 pubs across the country.

Landlord Brian Mannion claims he has to pay Enterprise up to two thirds more for beer kegs than is typically paid by independent establishments, meaning he has to charge customers higher prices just to break even.

As part of his contract, Mr Mannion is required to buy at least some of the pub’s beer from Enterprise, limiting his choices on the open market, where draught beer is considerably cheaper.

Mr Mannion claims there is no way out of the agreement and he has been effectively priced out of the market by the Enterprise charges.

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He said: “No pub can operate like this and I am taking a principled stand – we believe we are the first pub in the country to do this but we have no choice – it’s the end of an era. We have spoken to regulars and although they are shocked they can see why we have taken the decision.”

The Black Lion is one of many pubs who have joined the “Fair Deal for your Local” campaign which aims to stop the exploitation of licensees.

Black Lion regular Luke McFarlane told the Times it was a brave decision. He said: “It’s where I always go for a pint. I can understand why they have done it. Its more about the principle – they are not going to be dictated to and be forced to rip off customers. It’s a risk but if it works, other pubs could follow suit.”

The pub will bring to a close centuries of pint-pulling with a special ceremony called the Draught Wake on June 1.

It will now focus on enhancing its wines, bottled beers and spirits collection and will continue to serve food.

Enterprise Inns declined to comment.