I wonder how many would feel happy about the percentage of my expenses going into the profits of pubs recently? I know, for example, my mother-in-law, would be most uncomfortable, of she thought her Home Mission giving was being squandered. However, before you press the comment button, I've not placed a single alcoholic drink on my expenses form recently. I have stayed at. Travel lodge, drunk coffee in Costas, eaten in a Harvester Restaurant and the list could go on, if I cared to do the research, which would highlight, who else, like these chains are owned by brewers.
My purpose here, however, is not to have a go at the brewers, but to try and learn from them. Businesses such as Whitbreads and Mitchell's and Butlers have transformed their future prospects in recent years. They do it differently, but the purpose is the same. The reliance on selling alcohol has diminished, but the range of people benefitted from their third places has radically increased.
Local pubs, like local churches, have been closing. Where I live, in South Bristol, I can think of four pubs, which have closed, within less than a miles' radius, in the last ten years, but no churches.
Interestingly, we were saying, twenty years ago, churches needed to learn from pubs, about how to create third places. Truth is, pubs have learnt from what wasn't working, but churches perpetuate recycling that well known sign of madness: keep doing what doesn't work in the hope we'll get a different outcome next time.