It was among Preston’s best-known claims to fame – at one time the city had a pub for every day of the year.
But alarming figures compiled by the British Beer and Pub Association reveal more than two thirds of those have now closed down, and there are fewer than 100 pubs in the city.
Today campaigners said the cost of running a pub was more prohibitive than ever, while the Government has not done enough to clamp down on cheap supermarket booze.
According to the BBPA figures, there are now just 94 pubs in the Preston constituency.
There are a further 58 in the Wyre and Preston North constituency, but only a small number of those will be within Preston itself.
Neil Williams, of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “We certainly agree that this is a very serious concern, although the closure rate has fallen – it is currently running at around 15 pubs per week (across the country)
Among the pubs to close down in Preston in recent years are the Lime Kiln, in Aqueduct Street, the Garrison, in Deepdale, The Cricketers Arms, in South Meadow Lane, and The Bridge Inn, in Leyland Road, Penwortham.
The BBPA and the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) have launched a joint e-petition in a bid to spark a debate about Government tax on beer. The organisations are trying to get 100,000 signatures to trigger a Commons debate on the issue and currently have 93,000.
Ray Jackson, regional director for the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), said: “I don’t think it is down to the smoking ban any more, it is the cheap booze and the high rents that some of the pub companies charge.
“I would prefer to be on the other side of the bar.
“There is still an opportunity, if you get the right pub in the right area with the right clientele, to make a go of it but they are few and far between.
“We are in a terrible crisis in this country, there is not a lot of money out there and that is maybe another reason why people are not going out.”
Go to www.aveyourpint.co.uk to sign the e-petition.