The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) has called on the government to introduce minimum pricing to prevent supermarkets from selling alcohol as a loss leader. The organisation made the comments on the day of the launch of the 36th edition of its annual Good Beer Guide and following the release of recent BBPA figures showing that 36 pubs are closing every week. Roger Protz, editor of the guide, said: “Cheap beer in supermarkets – often sold at less than the price of bottled water – is killing the British pub. “Over 150 pubs a month are closing. And the main reason is simple: people are abandoning their locals because they can buy cheap supermarket beer at a fraction of the price charged by pubs.” Camra highlighted that since 2002, off-trade beer prices have fallen by 7%, while pub prices have risen by 24%. The increase in duty has resulted in a 4.4% rise in pub prices in the last year, with the average pint of lager now costing £2.82, compared with the off-trade where beer is being sold for as little as 57p a pint. Protz said: “Pubs are regulated licensed premises. Publicans who permit bad behaviour such as heavy drinking will lose their licences. “Supermarkets face no such restraints. They have no idea what happens to cheap alcohol once it leaves their stores. In too many cases, it's passed on to under-age drinkers. It's the supermarkets, not pubs, that encourage binge drinking, with their massively discounted sales of alcohol. “One solution is for England and Wales to follow the example of the Scottish government and consider a minimum pricing policy for alcohol sold in the off-trade. Urgent action is needed to help save that great British institution – your friendly, neighbourhood local.” The newly published Good Beer Guide features 4,500 real ale pubs in Britain, of which 1,227 are new pub entries and 73 new brewery listings.