Campaigner Sarah Bellis made the call this month as she presented CAMRA’s Scotland and Northern Ireland Pub of the Year award to a pub which has been in the same family since 1858 – Staggs (also known as the Volunteer Arms) in Musselburgh.
Sarah Bellis said: “Staggs is a fine example of just how good a well-run pub can be and such pubs, serving fine products to discerning drinkers and demonstrates how Scotland can have a positive drinking culture.”
“Our politicians of all parties should call time on their anti-alcohol stance, tackle the disparity between the price of a drinks in pubs and shops and get behind Scotland’s pubs, where people can drink responsibly in a supervised environment instead of excessively consuming cheap supermarket booze at home.”
“Appointing a minister for pubs would be an excellent first step and would be welcomed by the 60,000* people whose jobs are connected to the pub industry.”
Staggs sells up to eight real ales at any one time and CAMRA members have judged the beer to be consistently of the very finest quality.
Staggs owner Nigel Finlay said: “It’s quite an achievement for a little back street boozer to win this award. There are many just as good pubs throughout Scotland that could have won this, but we have done it and it’s extremely gratifying.
Sarah added: “Many organisations give awards to pubs but only CAMRA awards are given by the most important people in any pub – the customers.
“Nigel is far too modest about what a great job he and his staff do.”
*figures from the British Beer and Pub Association Statistical Handbook (Oxford Economics report into UK Brewing and Pub employment (2013))