Beer’s the thing

One of the first questions a business adviser wants answering is why? Hundreds of pubs are closing every year, so why do we want to open a micropub?

Our response is that the micropub business model seems to be the best way to succeed during these challenging economic times. That’s because a micropub is all about the beer. 

Practically all pubs are shoe-horned into one business model or another (for example gastropub, family pub or sports pub) and are marketed accordingly. Each pub is designed to appeal to a specific demographic of people who can go in expecting all the trappings associated with that particular business model, whether it’s fine food, a play area or Sky sports on the big screen. That means neighbouring pubs which happen to share a business model end up fighting for custom.

By comparison, a micropub’s primary focus is on beer and beer alone. Students are as welcome as pensioners and they might all end up rubbing elbows with young couples and sports fans, as long as they all enjoy real ale because that’s the only thing on offer. And since it’s beer that can’t be bought in the likes of Tesco, there’s little competition from the supermarkets either.

A recent attention-grabbing headline in The Publican’s Morning Advertiser announced that the UK needs to lose further 1,000 pubs. In the article, a property agent gives his view that Britain cannot sustain the current number of pubs, even after a quarter of all Britain’s pubs closed for business between 1980 to 2010.

What’s interesting in the Morning Advertiser article is that over the past 7 years the number of leased/tenanted pubs has declined from about 28,000 to 21,000. Over the same period freehold pubs have increased substantially from 17,000 to 26,000.

To us that seems an indication that pub owners have a better chance of succeeding without being tied to a pub company, or at the very least shows how a growing number of pub owners are taking the opportunity for whatever reason to strike out as independents.

And if they can survive now, their businesses will be thriving once the economy recovers, which is why we’re actively viewing properties and scoping out neighbourhoods for our micropub.

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