Struggling publicans look for new ways to attract customers as price increases and the smoking ban mean more people are drinking at home.

The Laurels pub in Clondalkin is one of a number of Dublin bars to introduce the Dutch beer Bavaria for three euro a pint to entice people back to the pub and boost their declining revenues.

Pat Cooney of the drinks manufacturer and wholesaler M&J Gleeson says since the introduction of the smoking ban the publican,

Has to show his concern for his customer and be prepared to offer them a value proposition and also to look at new ways of doing things, new ways of looking after his consumer.

Some pubs, such as the Submarine Bar in Crumlin have even begun to cut prices. Almost 200 pubs in Dublin have been critical of Diageo Ireland, the owner of Guinness, for the introduction of a price increase.

Owner of the Submarine Bar John Smith says drastic action is needed,

We’ve got the support of Heiniken, Beamish and Crawford and most of the other suppliers, they’ve softened on their positions and have put back their price increases so we’re asking Diago to do the same, we will pass any reduction on immediately then to the consumers.

Ireland is a challenging market for Diageo with the company announcing a decline in annual operating profits of 10 per cent with a 4 per cent fall in sales. Diageo Ireland financial director Charles Coase says this is due to people drinking less, combined with a shift from people drinking in the pub to drinking in the home.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 2 September 2004. The reporter is Clare Murphy.