Courage to offer landlords a bonus

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Courage is taking another radical step to repair trading bridges with directly tied Inntrepreneur publicans.

Only a month after abandoning a policy of fining landlords for failing to meet turnover targets, the brewer intends to pay bonuses on all sales of Courage beers above agreed limits.

The level will be linked to the trading performance of individual pubs, and is expected to cost several million pounds this year.

The change of policy comes amid an overhaul of the management approach of Inntrepreneur, which has 6,500 pubs and is jointly owned by Courage, the second-largest brewer in Britain, and Grand Metropolitan, the international food retailing and drinks group.

Graham Kendrick, director for trading at Courage, said the sales bonus scheme was "a tangible demonstration of our commitment to helping Inntrepreneur licencees increase both sales and profits".

"A number of trading initiatives over the past year have led to a dramatic increase in beer sales through Inntrepreneur-tied houses," he said.

"The suspension of the minimum purchase clause by Inntrepreneur was another positive step towards building a genuine two-way partnership with Inntrepreneur customers."

Courage previously levied fines of up to £80 for every barrel of beer between a pub's achieved and targeted sales.

This latest move to help publicans does not affect the terms and conditions of Inntrepreneur leases, which many lessees have criticised as too penal.

Courage recently lost a significant case in the Court of Appeal, which ruled that it was wrong to have forced one landlord in Norwich to switch from a previously agreed 10-year tenancy agreement to a 20-year Inntrepreneur lease.