Fyre Festival director creates heart-warming doc to highlight how beer tax culls three pubs a day

Britain’s Beer Alliance pro-pub campaign ‘Long Live The Local’ is back, with a mission to halt new beer duty increases from the UK government.

The tax the government puts on beer has risen by 39% in the last ten years. Pubs across the country have been highlighting how high beer tax is bad for business and according to the Alliance, three pubs close for good every day.

Last year the Long Live the Local petition helped to temporarily freeze the planned increase in beer duty. The campaign has now returned to put an end to the rise planned in the Autumn Budget.

To get its message across, the 'Long live the Local' campaign has released a mini-documentary directed by Chris Smith, director of Netflix’s hit documentary Fyre. It tells the tale of one pub in east Sussex – The Horn Lodge – that acts as a focal point for the local community.

The documentary argues that the Lodge is not merely a building with beer on draft, featuring villagers sharing fond memories and stories about what their local means to them. It's a place to natter with pals, share your troubles and if you're disconnected or alone at Christmas, the landlords offer Christmas lunch to bring the community together. “It’s just like walking into your front room with a group of friends,” one regular shares.

Six minutes into the half-hour documentary, the story takes a sad twist. As a lady recounts how when there is “a power-cut – you head to pub. When there’s a snowstorm – you head to the pub. If you’ve run out of anything…” the film stops in its tracks and the screen goes blank.

The text reads “on the first of January 2019, The Horns Lodge closed its doors for good. After 250 years of service, the pub that was once full of life stands decrepit, empty and boarded up."

For the remaining runtime of 24 minutes, the screen reminds viewers to sign a petition to cut beer tax, guiding them to visit a website called www.longlivethelocal.pub.

The campaign was devised by creative agency Havas London.

Commenting on the documentary, David Cunningham, programme director of Long Live the Local, said: “We are seeing even more support from pub-goers and publicans this year, driven by more emotive and powerful creative such as these films. When we deliver the petition to Number 10, we believe as many as 200,000 people will have signed and close to 100,000 will have written to their MP, demonstrating just how much people care about local pubs.”

Adding to this, Mark Whelan, chief creative officer at Havas UK, said: “We made the emotional film, we made the music video – now comes the documentary. We have to keep the story consistent but find new ways of telling it each time.”

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