People who have a pub in their area are happier and better-connected to their local community, a study has found.
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) surveyed over 2,000 adults and found that more than half of regular ale drinkers who go to pubs have made at least one new friend on their visits.
Almost one in three said they had made five or more friends.
Those who lived near a pub were also found to be more trusting as people, the survey found.
CAMRA is urging the government to make “substantial” reforms to help keep pubs open after the research suggested they play a big role in local communities.
The consumer organisation is also calling for the introduction of a preferential rate of duty for beer sold in pubs and on-trade outlets, greater support for publicans tied to large pub-owning companies and a significant reduction in the business rates currently paid by pubs.
CAMRA’s chairman Nik Antona, speaking at the group’s Great British Beer Festival in London, said: “Pubs play a significant role in communities across the country, providing a space for local people to meet, helping to tackle loneliness, and having a positive impact on the personal wellbeing of pub-goers.
“It’s vital that the government continues to act to reduce pub closures so that pubs remain at the heart of communities.”
It comes a year after a CAMRA study found most people in the UK said they believe a pint of beer in a pub is unaffordable.
A survey of 2,000 adults found 56% thought a pint was too much, and only one in four respondents said prices were about right.
CAMRA said around of third of that cost was made up of taxes including beer duty, business rates and VAT.
The UK was contributing 40% of beer duty in the EU but drinking only 12% of the beer in 2018, according to the organisation.
A CAMRA spokesperson said this results in pubs being forced to “raise prices or close” as they struggle with juggling taxes against overheads and other costs.
They added the high cost in pubs also meant people were more likely to buy from a supermarket and drink at home.
Jackie Parker, who was CAMRA’s chairperson at time, said it was believed up to 21 pubs were shutting their doors every week in the UK.
Brewery and pub giant Greene King saw its full-year pre-tax profit drop in 2018, despite a summer of favourable weather and World Cup fever.