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Some Hotel Profits.

The evidence given before the Compensation Court, which sat at Geelong (Victoria) last month for the purpose of fixing the amount to be paid for the taking away of licenses of houses declared against under the local option poll, threw some instructive light on the methods and profits of the trade. The licensee of Dunn’s Ciuh Hotel (says the * Daily Telegraph ’) is a woman with a disabled husband and a large family. She paid L3OO for the goodwill, furniture, and license of the hotel ; her weekly “takings” amounted to from Ll7 to L2O, and of this sum one-half was clear profit. For a capital expenditure, that is, of L3OO. this woman was able to earn “profits” amonnting to LSOO a year. Her services to society consisted in “distributing” LSOO worth of beer, whisky, etc., annually ; and forthissocletypaid heranother LSOO peryear. The details of a publican’s profit arc of a highly suggestive kind. According to the licensee’s own evidence, she got a return of L 3 for every L2 expended in beer; but, according to the brewer, the actual profits are much more amazing, A barrel of beer costa L2; if sold in pints, the hotelkeeper makes a profit of about 73 per cent, ; if sold in medium glasses the profit is 300 per cent; if in “ pony glasses,” the profit leaps up to the modest dimensions of six hundred and fifty per cent. ! Beer-drinkers must surely be an extraordinarily simple race, or beer-sellers extraordinarily shrewd, to account for such “ profits ” ! What other branch of honest commerce knows of such “earnings”? " A local wine and spirit merchant, Mr M’Mnllen, gave evidence that “publicans generally made 170 per cent, profit on tho sale of whisky and brandy ”; but the licensee herself declared she made L 3 out of every LI expended in spirits, a profit of 300 per cent.: and cross-examination sheds an interesting light on how this “profit” is made. According to Mr M‘Mullen’evidence, “ publicans generally got sixteen nobblers from a reputed quart, and six reputed quarts went to a gallon.” The licensee admitted in cross-examination that she “generally made sixteen nobblers out of a quart of whisky,” which is making her spirits go very far indeed; but her actual profits pointed to a still more extraordinary inflation of tho original quart of whisky. To yield the 300 per cent, of profit which the licensee declared she got, something like twenty-six nobblers must have been extracted from each individual quart of whisky. How is it done ? Some people, as His Honor Judge Molcsworth reflected, “like water with their whisky,” and only ask to be spared tobacco j iiice. The licensee herself explained: “We .'■) not charge for the water; that is given ia—v/e only charge for the spirits a statement which the unfeeling audience received with laughter. But Is there any other trade in any civilised community which is conducted on the methods of tho liquor traffic, and realises quite literally “unearned increment’’ of such surprising dimensions? Compensation, it seems to us, on principles of pure reason, should not be paid for stopping such a trade, but should be exacted for allowing It to exist. Pure reason, however, has a very limited office in human affairs.

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Bibliographic details

Some Hotel Profits., Evening Star, Issue 8002, 3 September 1889

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Some Hotel Profits. Evening Star, Issue 8002, 3 September 1889