I suppose I get a slightly distorted view of the pub trade from where I'm sitting. Most of the time I'm meeting and writing about the success stories, in an effort to share best practice and inspire others by what can be achieved, doing my little bit to nudge things in the right direction, if you like.
I know, too, that for many publicans it's a struggle. For most of last week I was back in my old manor in East London, gasping at how many of the pubs I had once drank in had closed down. Though, of course, there are successes there too, and some great places to go to that weren't there before.
On Thursday, in my honoured role as chair of judges, I went along to the Great British Pub Awards bash at the Park Lane Hilton. It was an uplifting affair, even for an old cynic like me, and the standing ovation for the overall Pub of the Year was ever so slightly moving.
The winner was the Grafton in Kentish Town – and it's an Enterprise Inns leasehold.
For a lot of people in the trade, Enterprise, the largest of the tenanted pubcos, is the Great Satan, systematically squeezing the life out of pubs with high rents and expensive beer. The licensees of the Grafton themselves freely admit that they've had bad experiences with Enterprise in the past.
The problem with the pubco business model was that the scramble for market share left companies like Enterprise with huge debts and overblown estates. Tenants were, indeed, squeezed, and the pubs under-invested. The sheer scale of the operation, too, made it hard for tenants to develop the kind of business relationship with the landlord that could ensure the promised support.
Even when this situation was at its worst, there were successes, and we're lucky that the Grafton's Joel Czopor and Susie Clarke survived, learned and came back for more. They're now talking about taking on another Enterprise house.
One of the things they said after receiving the award was particularly revealing – don't be afraid of the pubco. You need to be open and explicit about what you need, not simply accept what you're given and then moan about it.
Tenants must start out believing they're equal partners and reflect that in their approach to negotiating a deal that will make their business work and then sustain that relationship.
Unfortunately, they have less control over the individual they're dealing with, the area manager as they used to be called, and Joel and Susie seem to have been lucky enough to get a good one, open to ideas and strong enough to stand up to the bosses above them who demand too much.
We still have a long way to go in creating the kind of pub industry that can give good pubs and good publicans the best possible chance to thrive. But until then we can, and must, celebrate the successes.