Landlord Mark Anderson says he had no choice but to leave after twice falling foul of the brewer’s strict “surplus stock” rule. He explained that he was told that he must achieve a 5% surplus on all of the pub’s drink stock. The only way to accomplish this was to serve customers their beer with a large frothy head. This was something he was unwilling to do.
Mark, who claims the Windmill was making £4,200 a week, gave his notice in after a second letter warned him that his 1.7% surplus stock figure was too low. Of course Sam Smiths have history with this issue and have shown that they are quite willing to close pubs over it. Indeed, they seem quite proud of their policy, with notices in their pubs saying that “Trade guidance states that a minimum 95 per cent liquid may be served.”
Humphrey Smith, typically, declined to comment when confronted over the brewery’s actions. Which is not surprising as, under his management, the brewery has taken parsimony to new levels and been involved in unpleasant and unnecessary litigation. So don’t expect them to serve a full pint anytime soon.
*The Windmill was a pleasant pub in a bit of a no man’s land between Partington and Sale. I was stranded there on my first visit when I discovered that Stagecoach refused to run services through Partington in the evening. Getting a taxi back to Sale proved very difficult as apparently avoidance of fares was common. Eventually I secured passage with a female-drivers only taxi firm on the assurance that I wasn’t a drug dealer and would pay up front.