In the UK, one of the country’s best-loved social traditions is seemingly under threat. Latest figures suggest a record 52 pubs closed every week in the first six months of 2009.Times have been tough over the last two years with the smoking ban, the recession, cheap alcohol offers in supermarkets and above inflation tax rises being blamed. “Over the last 12 months, those taxes have gone up 20 percent on beer alone, which is an additional 600 million pound cost on the sector, and I think that illustrates the scale of the sort of challenge that is facing businesses like pubs in Britain today,” said Mark Hastings from the British Beer & Pub Association. Critics have also blamed price-fixing by suppliers for pricing some watering holes out of the market. Whatever the cause, it is clear that if the trend continues then meeting your friends for a pint and a game of darts could become a thing of the past.