Tied house

Tied house

In the UK a tied house is a public house that is required to buy at least some of its beer from a particular brewery, unlike free houses, which are able to choose the beers they stock freely.

Definition of Tied

The pub itself may be owned by the brewery in question, with the publican renting the pub from the brewery. This is termed a tenancy. Alternatively, the brewery may appoint a salaried manager to run the pub it owns, and this form of tie can sometimes be termed a managed house. Finally, a publican may finance the purchase of a pub with soft loans from a brewer and be required to buy his beer from it in return. The traditional advantage of tied houses for breweries was the steadiness of demand they gave them; a tied house would not change its beers suddenly, so the brewer had a consistent market for its beer production.

However, this sometimes could victimize consumers, as when a regional brewer tied nearly every pub in an area so that it became very hard to drink anything but its beer. This was a form of monopoly opposed by CAMRA, especially when the brewer forced poor beer onto the market owing to the lack of competition from better breweries. Some or all drinks were then supplied by the brewery, including spirits and soft drinks, quite often at an uncompetitive price relative to those paid by free houses.

From 1989-2003, tied pubs in the UK were legally permitted to stock at least one guest beer from another brewery to give greater choice to drinkers.


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