PUB pair Chris and Denise Gregory say they are ‘trapped’ in a brewery contract while their pub - The Peacock Inn in Gainsborough - sends them further into debt.
The couple, who signed a five-year tenancy agreement at the Corringham Road watering hole in 2009, have lifted the lid on their plight this week.
“It’s a picture that’s the same across the industry,” said Denise, who has worked in pubs for more than 30 years.
“Cheap supermarket booze has stolen our trade and we just can’t make it pay.”
“When we took it on in 2009 we didn’t envisage the pub industry was going to take such a plummet.”
The couple have worked hard to try and keep the Peacock’s head above water, offering a packed food menu and events like karaoke.
“People have just stopped coming. They can’t afford to - it’s cheaper to buy booze from the supermarket and eat at McDonald’s,” said Denise.
“We have already had court orders for unpaid business rates and we’re racking up an overdraft.”
“I’m not prepared to go any more into debt so I asked our brewery, Marston’s, for early release from trading obligations. ”
“We are expected to carry on trading for months and pay rent first at the expense of rates and revenue.”
Denise said communication with Marston’s had been difficult.
“We are trying to do this properly by asking about our options but there’s no get-out clause.”
“We didn’t want to just up and leave. But what choice do we have?”
The Gregorys have notified Marston’s that they will leave next month and face the consequences.
“It’s not right. The Government refuses to legislate on supermarkets and pub companies are shooting themselves in the foot by not lowering their prices,” she said.
A Marston’s spokesperson said: “The pub is at the heart of the community, Marston’s has extensively supported Denise whilst she has been at The Peacock.”
“However, we have to ensure that local pubs are not adversely affected by any changes. This means we have to always think of the pub’s long-term future.”
“We have agreed to an early release from the five-year tenancy agreement with Denise, although a new tenant will have to be in place before this can happen.”
“Marston’s will continue to support Denise over the period it takes to get a new tenant.”