Pubs turning the corner, says Johnson
15 August, 2012
Pubs have a brighter future than many people seem to fear, entrepreneur and Risk Capital Partners founder Luke Johnson argues in a piece for the Financial Times—thanks in large part to the rise of independently minded operators.
Johnson traces the history of British pubs—from independent, beer-selling inns to brewery-owned, tenant-run set-ups to the current dispersal and shift towards food. Now, he thinks, there is a revival of craft breweries and independent operators—like The Draft House, the small London group which he chairs. “Across the licensed trade there are thousands of small businesses who are leading a reinvention of an ancient facility, making it relevant and attractive to today’s customers. They are investing their own equity to bring novel ideas to the business of providing refreshment—and in many cases succeeding.”
He sees these businesses shaking up the market and keeping larger brands on their toes. “Faceless public companies frequently lack the engagement and commitment that an individual landlord brings to the task of serving patrons. Moreover, such personally owned outlets tend to offer a greater variety of beers and other drinks, helping to foster diversity in the brewing trade.”
This entrepreneurial spirit will more than make up for the investors and banks that “have tended to desert” pubs—and is good news for the UK as a whole. “Pubs represent a vital element of the fabric of British life: thanks to the energy and imagination of thousands of independent publicans, a strong future remains for these unique British meeting places,” Johnson concludes.
For the full story, see The British boozer is pulling pints again.