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BBPA blog - Access Champions Event

On 26/02/18 by David Wilson (Director of Public Affairs)

This week I attended an inspirational first anniversary event hosted by Minister for Disabled People Sarah Newton MP.

The gathering of sector champions – initially welcomed by the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey MP - across a range of business sectors was an opportunity for industry to share best practice, inspire further action to promote accessibility and employment opportunities for people with disabilities, and for the Minister to challenge us all to do more to ensure we are not losing business by failing to accommodate consumers with health conditions.

For tourism and hospitality, Chris Veitch is our champion and he paid tribute to the BBPA for our work in sharing best practice through our Accessible Pubs Guide. He singled us out as a membership organisation which has shown leadership within hospitality on this important issue.

Accessibility is good for business – as the retail, advertising and live music sector champions reaffirmed in their challenging presentations. Within tourism and hospitality we estimate people with health conditions – and their friends and families – spend £12 billion annually on tourism in England alone so it is vital that pubs are geared up to benefit from what is dubbed the purple pound.

Raising awareness of hidden disabilities through effective staff training, demonstrating corporate leadership in recruitment and staff development, and offering excellent service to all customers regardless of their disabilities were common themes our sector would do well to emulate.

As the Minister reminded us, every small change makes a difference and business leadership is critical to sharing best practice and driving innovation.

For our accessible pubs guide please click here.

David Wilson
Director of Public Affairs


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Drinkaware goes to Derby

On 06/02/18 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

I was delighted when Drinkaware invited me to go to watch Derby County against Brentford, not least because I had not visited Pride Park, but also to see in action the activities of DrinkAware as a preferred partner for the football club and exactly how this worked. With my background at Leicester City, I have always understood and been a strong supporter of outreach offered by football club community teams; there is nothing more obvious than harnessing the pride and interest of everyone in a city who loves football and look to change behaviour. It turns out that Derby has a higher rate of inactivity than many other cities in the UK and lower mortality rates too; an obvious target for action to improve activity, reduce weight and as ever in Drinkaware terms, ‘drink a little less and feel a lot better’.

I have always believed that sport reflects and unites communities and those who watch comes from all walks of life. I was helped to find by way from the station to the stadium by a young man who was a steward. He was looking to join the army but his recruitment had been delayed, so in freezing temperatures and rain he turned up for every home fixture and when he was not at Derby he travelled to other clubs to volunteer his services. Thus the power of sport.

Derby County Community Trust receives funds from Sport England to encourage greater physical activity. They take on those who are referred to them by doctors, often recovering from heart and injury problems, in need of weight loss and looking for social interaction. These are often men over 45, from lower income groups, but keen to engage with sport and adopt lifestyle change. They run walking football competitions, which we had hoped to see at half time on the pitch, (with the players wearing Drinkaware vests), but it was just too wet, but it was great to see the Drinkaware logo on the advertising hoardings round the ground and to meet the local Police and Crime Commissioner; Hardya Dhindsa who is keen to meet and work with the industry. Derby is one of the 22 Local Authority Alcohol Action Areas. They are working with the LAAA introducing Drinkaware Crew to reduce harm to young adults and training venue staff in the city to recognise vulnerability and the risks associated with heavy drinking.

At the Game, Drinkaware launched ‘Game Changer’, volunteers moved amongst the fans and were asked to choose from four ‘game changing’ moments from Derby’s footballing history. It is also on the Derby County website. There is also an invite to visit and may over time allow them to identify specific Derby wards where action is most needed. Everyone at the game were given hand warmers, sponsored by Marstons (who also supply beer to the ground), it was a great initiative; fun, but with some important messaging.

And not to forget the football, Derby won 3 – 0. It did not help Brentford that a player was sent off after 20 minutes! So hopefully some happy fans who will have an incentive to look at their lifestyle and how it might be improved. Thank you Drinkaware; a really good initiative which all of us should support.

Brigid Simmonds
Chief Executive


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Women in Hospitality, Travel and Leisure 2020

On 29/01/18 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

Last year I was asked to provide a quote for a report being carried out by PWC and Korn Ferry looking at diversity and in particular women who work in our sector. I commented that whilst 53% of those who work in pubs are women and companies like Fullers have a female head brewer, we need to build on our successes if we are to see more women reach the top.

Last week I attended the launch of the report; a link can be found here and it provides for some fascinating reading and an opportunity to sign up to the ‘Diversity in Hospitality, Travel and Leisure Charter’ to help companies make a real contribution to this agenda.

The report acknowledges that much progress has been made, but with an aim of achieving 33 percent female representation across boards and executive committees by 2020 there is much to do. There are very few female role models in CEOs and Chairman across the sector. There is a greater representation of women in HR, rather than commercial and finance and some small to medium sized businesses do not think there is an issue with gender imbalance, nor regard it as a priority. The sector attracts a high number of female graduates, but is not doing enough to retain them and this is partly because of a lack of flexibility in working conditions and support for women balancing careers and families who then need to be encouraged to come back into the business. Appointments from outside the sector have helped increase the pipeline, but few companies in the sector disclose their diversity and inclusion strategies. Recent McKinsey research has shown that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.

Companies like Sodexo who do have strategies, found from research across their 5,000 managers that the strategy increased employee engagement, improves favourable client opinion and that sites with gender-balanced management were 23% more likely to show consistent organic growth. A customer director for Wagamama is quoted as saying that she works for a new female CEO who insists on collaboration and communication amongst them and designs meetings and away-days that facilitate this. The result is a strong feeling of the team, but it also makes it easier to have difficult conversations. There are suggestions that women need to be more proactive in seeking out promotion and often lack confidence and there is clear recognition that it all starts from the top and the right attitude must permeate throughout the business.

The report concludes that there are many places to start this journey, but that the most important is a vision and sense of urgency from leadership. Other sectors are agreeing formal strategies and policy and broadening public awareness about their strategy. It emerges that female graduates first priority in choosing who to work for are opportunities for career progression. There is much more besides from the value of mentoring to the power of networks. Definitely worth a read and perhaps some more thought…..

Brigid Simmonds
Chief Executive


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The Parliamentary Pub Chef of the Year Competition - The ‘Cook-Off’

On 26/01/18 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

The BBPA organised its first Parliamentary Pub Chef of the Year competition two years ago with the support of Nestle and under the auspices of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group. Having expected 30 or so entries, we were rather amazed to receive over 100. Two years on and clearly we had struck a cord with MPs as this year we have over 130 entries from across the UK.

Pub chefs are a shortage occupation in our industry and we are working hard with colleges and schools to try and change this. Our film, which can be found here shows what an exciting career you can create as a pub chef and if you are an entrepreneur, you can be running your own business in a pub at a relatively early age.

Fast forward to 2018 and with the help of an expert panel of judges in Paul Dickinson, Director of Food at Fuller’s; Andrej Prokes, Executive Chef at Nestlé Professional; Kate Hempsall, consultant to the beer and pub trade; and Dawn Redman, Director at Hospitality Jobs UK, we were down to 8 finalists. They were then invited to the ‘cook-off’ at Hospitality House in north London on 24th January. I love cooking (but in no way would qualify as a professional), so it was a great treat to be asked to be a judge on the day. We were also joined by Mike Wood MP, who is Chairman of the Beer Group, Paul Merret the television chef, Roger Rahaman a chef from Nestlé and Ashley McCarthy who is owner and chef from The Sun Inn in Colton near York.

So, first it was the turn of the young pub chefs each of which were invited to tell us a little bit about themselves. Amy Houghton was nominated by Craig Whittaker, MP for Calder Valley. She cooks at the Shoulder of Mutton in Hebden Bridge. Amy first took a fine arts degree, but after a year and a very good experience of cooking decided to change tack and take a catering degree which included not only cooking but customer service too. Ben Morgan cooks for Fuller’s at the Plough Inn in Ealing. He is the head chef with four and a half years experience as a manager and was nominated by Victoria Sharma MP for Ealing and Southall. Gordon Stott was the only shortlisted chef this year who was also shortlisted two years ago. He was nominated by Kit Malthouse MP for North West Hampshire and works at the Sun Inn in Dummer near Basingstoke, which has 20 bedrooms; his objective to earn a Michelin star and finally in this category Michael di Bella who is half Italian is head chef at the Dean Inn, West Dean near Chichester and was nominated by his MP, Gillian Keegan. All were excellent in talking about fresh local food; Michael told us of his experience of exchanging 24 bottles of beer for game!

Both categories were offered the same ingredients. They knew what they had to cook with in advance, but only had an hour on the day to complete their dish of choice. Venison, guinea fowl, brill, razor clams were combined with mouthwatering variations from exotic mushrooms, beetroot, butternut squash, blackberries, lemons and shallots to name but a few.

In the second category we had Kevin McLean of the Rat Inn in Anick nominated by the MP for Hexham, Guy Opperman. Kevin trained at the Three Chimneys on Sky and worked there for many years before moving slightly further south. We asked each chef what was their favourite season. Several named autumn, but often the answer was the next one! There is only so much you can do with strawberries or beetroot and soon want to move on to the next season’s delicacies. Craig Jeffrey cooks at the Ship Inn near Padstow. He was nominated by Scott Mann, MP for North Cornwall. His specialities included kidney broth and kedgeree. He also described inviting local school children to design a healthy eating dish which then featured on the pub’s menu. Ryan Lamb was nominated by Caroline Nokes MP for Romsey and Southampton North who is now the Minister at the Home Office responsible for migration. Ryan cooks at the Tally Ho in Stockbridge near Romsey. He described his food and pub classics with a French twist. He has recently developed a twice baked cheese soufflé which will be sold through a supermarket, ready to cook at home. Finally in this category was Oli Farrar of the Durham Ox in Crayke, nominated by Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton. Oli worked in London for some years, but wanted to go back to his roots and give back time to training others. He admitted that foie gras did not quite work in his pub, but his mantra was simple pub food which has to be the best it can be.

It was inspiring, exciting, nerve-racking, but a wonderful afternoon and so good for all of us in the industry who care so much about the quality of food now offered in pubs to see such a high standard set; much higher than we had seen two years ago. Who will win, well you will have to wait and see. Both pub chef and young pub chef winners will be announced and presented at a ceremony in the Houses of Parliament on 7th February.

Brigid Simmonds
Chief Executive


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‘Drugs and Pubs’ – National Pubwatch film for licensees

On 11/01/18 by Philippa Borrowman (Policy and Information Officer)

Ensuring illegal substances are never used in licensed venues is a challenge, but with the help of National Pubwatch’s new film, ‘Drugs and Pubs’, licensees can gain insight into how best to approach the issue, and what to do if you think drugs are being used on your premises.

National Pubwatch has highlighted that no matter how well a venue is run, no licensee is immune to the problem of drug use in pubs.
The new film highlights ways in which pubs can deal with drug users and dealers in pubs, how security can be trained to identify and handle drugs, as well as the negative effects which ignoring the issue can have on your business. It follows recently updated guidance produced by the BBPA in August 2017.

The film hopes to inform licensees in an engaging and interesting way, to signpost where further information can be obtained in the event that drugs are being used on the premises.

BBPA guidance, available on our website here, similarly highlights some of the key issues underlying drug use in pubs, explains the law around drugs, how to identify drugs and drug users, how to prevent drug use on premises, and how to deal with those in possession of drugs.

Both the National Pubwatch film and BBPA guidance aim to support licensees in creating a safe and secure environment for customers to promote all four of the licensing objectives:
- Prevention of crime and disorder;
- Public safety;
- Prevention of public nuisance;
- Protection of children from harm

Taking steps towards preventing drug use in pubs is vital. Illegal drug use will damage trade and reputation, could result in other criminal activities such as violence, and risks the loss of licence.

The new and updated BBPA website, due to be launched in Spring 2018, is just one of the ways which licensees can stay informed and up-to-date on best practice. The website will provide easy-to-access guidance on this and many other issues, as well as relevant news updates tailored to specific policy areas.

Philippa Borrowman
Policy and Information Officer


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The future of amusement machines – a day at the Autumn Coin-op Show

On 06/11/17 by Philippa Borrowman (Policy and Information Officer)

The amusement machines industry is relatively new to me, apart from the familiar sight of a fruit machine in the corner of my local pub. However, a day at the Autumn Coin-Op Show demonstrated that the world of these machines is much larger than I had originally thought.

Statistics show that the number of Category C machines being sold has significantly fallen, with only 13,000 units being sold in 2015 in comparison to 46,000 in 2005. However, manufacturers are still developing ways in which their machines can appeal to a new demographic of pubgoers.

At the BBPA, along with developers of amusement machines, we know how important these machines can be for the income of pubs. Whilst profits, along with the number of amusement machines being sold, has fallen, the Coin-Op Show showed me the many ways in which the amusement machine industry is working towards creating new ways to appeal to the public.

One of the biggest obstacles for the sector has been the significant increase in contactless payments in pubs, with Barclaycard research suggesting that contactless payment in the pub and bar sector had risen by 92 per cent between September 2015 and January 2016. Currently tap and go payments are illegal to use on amusement machines. However, many companies discussed the use of tokens, whereby customers pay by card and receive pay-outs through tokens, which they can either exchange for money, or exchange for drinks and other products in the pub.

Speaking to manufacturers showed there are a number of technical advancements which are revolutionising this industry. Not only is the development of cashless machines vital in order to protect the trade, but the significant improvement of digital machines, as opposed to analogue machines such as the more traditional fruit machine, has helped to ‘future-proof’ the industry.

The ability to store multiple games on a digital machine at any given time is vital in order to give consumers a choice of game, and appeal to a broad demographic. In addition, manufacturers are able to access machines online, whether it be to update the software or fix any problems. Previously, faulty Category C machines would more often require repairs by a technician, which was both costly and time-consuming.

Some developers have taken things one step further. One company has developed a mobile app where they can track every machine they own in the country, and see statistics such as when it was last played, which games are most popular or repair any faults online via the software.

Whilst a number of large manufacturers are still producing the classic analogue machines, suggesting that these machines were still profitable, the large majority of developers at the show noted that a move towards digital amusement machines is vital in order to future-proof the industry.

In addition, they suggested that amusement machines were a vital part of the technology sector, through providing jobs to games developers, as well as continuously finding new ways to develop high-definition, state-of-the-art amusement machines.

Whilst the improvement in technology is vital to protect this industry, the BBPA has been campaigning on other key issues which can further protect the industry for the future. Amusement machines are a vital part of the pub sector, both for the profit of the pub itself, as well as providing jobs in the technology sector.

Through an increase in Category C stakes to £2, and a prize to £150, the BBPA believes that this will help to ‘future-proof’ the industry, whilst not impacting negatively on social responsibility or problem gambling.

However, after a long wait for the outcome of the government’s triennial consultation, we were disappointed to hear that the Government isn’t currently proposing to increase stakes and prizes in pub machines.

The BBPA will continue to campaign for an increase in stake and prize, and will respond to the Government’s latest consultation. We hope that with such an increase, the amusement industry can continue to provide an income vitally important to keep many pubs, particularly many community locals, viable.

Philippa Borrowman
Policy and Information Officer


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A British Beer export strategy for the next five years

On 23/10/17 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

Last week, we launched our new export strategy for British beer for the next five years. It was a real pleasure to be hosted at Fullers Griffin Brewery in Chiswick, and to welcome George Eustice, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Brewing is a very British industry, over 80% of the beer we drink here is brewed here, we contribute over £23 billion to the UK economy, but pay £13 billion in tax and we support nearly 900,000 jobs. Beer exports have always been important but in the current economic uncertainty, we also see an even greater opportunity for exports which clearly have the capacity to grow.

Beer exports were worth £583 million in 2016, up 16 per cent on the previous year, and we export beer to over 100 countries. By value, the largest national market is the USA, with the EU accounting for 60 per cent of the market by volume. We believe that working with the Government, not only can we continue to grow in EU markets but in markets all over the world.

Our new strategy from 2013 builds on the success of our existing, three-year Beer and Cider Action Plan. We have now announced an ambitious goal of achieving £100 million growth over the next five years, using 2016 as the base. This growth is achievable, but will require hard work and commitment from us and our members to build a comprehensive set of tools that we are confident will help us reach our target. The plan has a number of key elements:

• We will support both new and existing exporters, helping to provide the information they need to succeed abroad. To do this, we are rebuilding our website and adding new functionality, including an Export Hub. It will contain country profiles of key markets and include economic trends, trade data, demographics and market access issues. Importantly, it will also serve as the virtual window into the UK domestic offer for importers and wholesalers the world over.

• Our new Brand Showcase, will highlight great British brewers and promote their flagship brands to the world – helping to match buyers and sellers, worldwide. As if that were not enough, we will also be providing suggestions for pairing beer with food, which is a great way to show the world what British food and drink can do.

• Our strategy also aims at quality assurance and sustainable growth. We have compiled a Best Practice document for exporting. We want to ensure that from grain to glass, no matter where you consume it, a British beer tastes just as the brewer intended.

• We will again collaborate with Government – DEFRA, DIT and the Foreign Office – to maximise our impact abroad. We have worked with brewers to identify the top five trade shows over the next two years where, with some help from government, we think have the potential to win business abroad. The Pub Roadshow Concept, as we’re calling it, would create a reusable stage that would stand out, create buzz in a crowded venue, and market the UK Food & Drink sector. In exchange for Government help to secure funding, we would commit ourselves to attending these trade shows for the next two years.

There are other ways of working with Government. We will work on a forward programme of inbound/outbound missions, building on the success of a recent Canadian mission. With DEFRA’s Hospitality Toolkit, building on BBPA materials, we will help to provide embassies across the world with guides on how to serve British beer, style guides, and beer/food paring suggestions. We will continue to be an active participant in the dialogue over Free Trade Agreements and what market access barriers the sector encounters, the world over.

Finally, domestic regulation and taxation must remain competitive. We can only afford to invest in export growth if the UK market is competitive relative to our neighbours, particularly in these uncertain times. We need to create a climate that incentivises growth for all our brewers.

It will not therefore surprise you that we are calling on the Government to cut beer duty, after the 3.9 per cent increase we have already had this year, which cost the industry over £130 million. We also want the pub-specific rate relief granted in the March Budget for a further year.

A big thank you to Simon Emeny, Richard Fuller and the whole team at the brewery for hosting the launch of our export strategy last week, and to George Eustice for showing such support.

Brigid Simmonds
Chief Executive


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Beer’s Soft Power

On 20/10/17 by Jane Peyton (instigator of Beer Day Britain, author of several books including 'Beer o'Clock' and current Beer Sommelier of the Year. )

Beer is the world’s favourite alcoholic drink, a lingua franca that connects people across the globe who may have nothing else in common but their love of the fermented cereal gift from nature called beer.

I experienced the soft power of beer recently in Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia. I was invited by the British Embassy to participate in a beer festival they organised to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Britain’s recognition of Slovenia’s independence from former Yugoslavia. The UK Department of Trade & Industry had encouraged breweries to send beer and representatives to Ljubljana to meet importers and to introduce locals to British beer. My role was to host a beer tasting tutorial and deliver a seminar about British beer history and contemporary brewing.

Slovenia has a burgeoning independent brewing scene and, like so many other countries where the dominant beer is pilsner brewed by multi-nationals, these start-ups are producing styles such as vibrant IPAs and powerful imperial stouts – flavour and ABV are emblematic.

The beer festival was well attended by women and men, including importers, intrigued to discover new brands and styles of beer. I spoke to dozens of locals and the overwhelming impression I had was how enthusiastic they were about the festival, the beer they had tasted and the variety of styles. They also told me how much they wanted to visit Britain, go to pubs and drink more British beer. I chatted with several of the British brewers and sales reps who attended the festival and they said they had met importers keen to distribute their beers. Tiny Rebel export manager, Moussa Clark, commented ‘Nothing beats coming to visit, getting to know the market, making connections. Having a laugh and a drink is a great pre-cursor to doing business.’

Congratulations and na zdravje to Dunja Cvek at the British Embassy in Slovenia and to Milan Dragutinovic, owner of production company Magna Carta, for co-producing an excellent event that delivered a weekend of beery fun and happiness, and also enabled a number of British brewers to increase exports to Slovenia.

I left the country thinking how powerful beer is in building relationships both business and personal, and what potential it has in encouraging tourism into the UK. It was a terrific experience to be Madame Am-beer-ssador for a weekend and to eulogise about Britain’s beer and pubs. Hura za pivo !

Jane Peyton
instigator of Beer Day Britain, author of several books including 'Beer o'Clock' and current Beer Sommelier of the Year.


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Food waste reduction – how simple environmental measures can lead to dramatic financial gains

On 18/10/17 by Philippa Borrowman (Policy and Information Officer)

New research conducted as part of the Manchester Metropolitan University and Robinsons Greener Retailing Project has demonstrated the huge potential financial savings for pubs that reduce their food waste.

Case studies of three Robinsons pubs: The Harrington Arms, The Ship Inn and the Airport, demonstrated the potential savings which pubs can make over just a four-week period, with all three reporting annual estimated savings of thousands of pounds.

Using the ‘Your Business is Food’ calculator tool developed by Manchester Met, these pubs were able to monitor the types of food which were being wasted by separating food waste into three categories – plate waste, prep waste and spoilage. This allowed the pubs to monitor, measure and improve in the areas which were losing them money.
The Ship Inn, a tenanted pub in Roose, reported an annual estimated saving of £3,186. Similarly, The Airport managed house, near Manchester Airport, estimated savings amounting to an astounding £4,361, and The Harrington Arms, in Gawsworth, is expected to save around £3,381.

The Ship Inn began offering smaller portion sizes to customers and making garnishes optional which led to a reduction of two thirds in plate waste. The Airport now offers coleslaw and sauces rather than automatically giving them. This resulted in the pub using only one tub of coleslaw a day instead of eight. The Harrington Arms, which had many issues with large amounts of prep waste, began using peelers rather than knives when preparing fresh vegetables, as well as opting for buying pre-prepped vegetables. This reduced prep waste by almost a third.

The Courtauld 2025 initiative, which the BBPA is committed to supporting, aims to reduce food and drink waste by 20 percent by the year 2025. Reducing food waste is both beneficial for the environment as well as being profitable and good for business.

All three Robinsons operators discussed the ease of implementing food waste measures, and all were astonished by the ability to make large savings without taking up too much of the time or energy of their staff.

The BBPA is calling on other members to help meet the commitments of the Courtauld 2025 initiative. Through small and easy measures, your business can help to protect the environment, whilst making huge savings.

The ‘Your Business is Food’ campaign provides simple tools for you to use to guide you in tracking the amount of food you throw away. The campaign offers tracking sheets and calculators, quick start guides and checklists all of which can be found here
For more information go to

Philippa Borrowman
Policy and Information Officer


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