Dateline August 2000: The price of a pint of lager topped £2 for the first time in Leeds.
This was all part of so-called ‘Rip Off Britain’ and the public’s ire was directed at Chancellor Gordon Brown and “fat cat breweries”, who, according to Camra (the Campaign for Real Ale) were cashing in on the public’s goodwill.
A YEP article wailed: “The spiralling cost of beer now means drinkers in many pubs are having to hand over £2 for just one pint.” At the time, over a third of the cost of a pint of beer was tax.
And Camra held a survey asking people who they would most like to spend an evening at the pub with - the results were former 007 actor Sean Connery followed by footballer Michael Owen.
The drinkers’ pressure group also mounted a campaign to relax pub opening times. At the time, pubs could open from 11am to 11pm (noon to 10.30pm on Sunday) but these times were routinely disregarded in country pubs, while others got round them by staging ‘lock-ins’. Camra argued that by relaxing the laws on opening times the economy would be boosted and anti-social behaviour would decrease. Significantly, the year 2000 was the first during which pubs were allowed to open for 36 hours continuously, starting at 11am on New Year’s Eve and ending at 11pm on New Year’s Day.