The sight of a pub with boarded-up windows has become sadly familiar, but a new venture aims to reignite British passion for a decent hostelry. The British Pub Channel (www.pubchannel.co.uk) is the initiative of Philip Porter, author of books such as Jaguar E-type: The Definitive History.

His site is assiduously detailed: as well as finding a local inn, there are sections for the most haunted pubs, the top 10 pub crawls, the origins of names such as The Bear and Ragged Staff and the different types of real ale.

‘It’s an absolute tragedy when rural pubs, in particular, die,’ says Mr Porter. ‘Some 18,000 pubs have closed in the past 30 years-that’s 25%. We’re keen to establish the site as the website for all pub-related matters, whether it be finding a dog-friendly pub with fine wines or watching films about eccentric breweries.’

Brewing and pubs are worth £19.4 billion to the economy; 900 breweries produce about 85% of beer drunk in Britain. Some 950,000 jobs depend on the industry, yet 34,000 have been lost in the past year, and the number of pubs closing every month remains high.

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