Good beer will save pubs
24 January, 2011
Surging interest in local real ale is proving a lifeline to pubs across the country, reports the Independent. “From elegant London bars to cosy Staffordshire inns, those places that concentrate on beer are finding success at a time when so many of their rivals are struggling,” says the paper.
It cites the example of the Highcliffe Hotel in Sheffield, owned by Enterprise Inns but on the verge of dereliction before the Thornbridge Brewery stepped in to work with the pubco to reinvent it as a pub with a firm emphasis on good beer and without the restriction of the beer tie on ale. After the success of the venture, Enterprise is now seeking to replicate the formula elsewhere.
It also namechecks a similar move by Everards, which reinvented the tie model when launching its Project William initiative, recently profiled by Peach Report. Everards md Stephen Gould says: “There is plenty of talk about food being the answer [to pubs’ problems]… I think that the drinks-led pub that doesn’t focus in on quality of beer probably hasn’t got a future, but the ones that do can create a point of difference within a local market.”
Another thriving operator is The Draft House, whose founder Charlie McVeigh credits beer as a vital ingredient in the concept. “It should be an ‘emperor’s new clothes’ idea that every pub should have great beer but most of them don’t. There aren’t that many people taking beer seriously in the way that a great wine bar or a great restaurant would take wine seriously. That’s what we set out to do but within the cost framework of a pub.”
For the full story, see We’re only here for the beer: How good, local ales are saving our pubs.