I just finished off the proofs for the Cain’s book and it looks like the story never ends. News is breaking that Cain’s is in trouble. The BBC has the story here, and there’s more from the Liverpool Echo, but it’s a story for our times and one we’re all familiar with by now: high energy and cereals prices, tightening credit conditions, and falling pub sales, are all putting pressure on the company. The smoking ban is being cited too, but I think that’s small fry compared with drinkers simply having less money in their pockets for all the reasons above. And the takeover of Honeycombe Leisure last year has probably left them more exposed than they might have been.
In a sensible and measured statement Sudarghara Dusanj told the BBC that these are the worst trading conditions for brewing in living memory. He’s dead right about that, but he should also take comfort from the fact that Cain’s has weathered worse: the years following World War 1 were especially bad.
Robert Cain said of his own business success:
While everyone is against you, while you are unknown, suspected, weak in credit–those are the troublesome days. If a man has the strength and foresight to live through this and keep a foothold he will find the next stages perhaps as hard in work but more encouraging as regards profits and prospects. (Liverpool Review, 1887, 10)
The Dusanj brothers have done a great job rebuilding the brand and and making it a key part of Liverpool’s own revival. It would be a disaster for Liverpool if they should lose it now. Let’s get behind them and drink Cain’s.