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Tourism and Growth

On 22/11/13 by Simon Goldrick (Policy & Information Officer)

Whilst many will talk about the economic importance of the car manufacturing industry, worth over £21billion a year to British exports, it pales in comparison to the vital importance of tourism to the UK economy, as clearly presented in a new report by VisitBritain. Launched yesterday ‘Tourism: jobs and growth’, produced by Deloitte and Oxford Economics, forecasts the industry to grow from £127bn a year to £257bn by 2025. This is a huge 102%, more than doubling in size in just over a decade.

The launch was well attended, with the report being introduced by Helen Grant MP, the new Minister for Tourism, who acknowledged her support of the industry and spoke eloquently on the Government’s backing for British tourism.

Tourism is hugely valuable to UK pubs – a third of international tourists have ‘the pub’ on their itineraries. Two areas in the report particularly stood out as relevant to pubs.

The report highlighted the huge importance of technology. The internet is the first port of call for an ever-growing number of tourists planning their holidays. Businesses of all sizes have to be able to promote themselves and complete on an international scale and pubs are no exception.

This links to the growing importance of international tourists, the driving force behind the huge potential growth. This was highlighted by the news today that Fuller’s Kings Cross pub, the Parcel Yard, was their best performing outlet for cask ale sales. It cannot be a coincidence that it situated less than one minute from the famous platform 9 & ¾!

The report in full can be found at online at VisitBritain.

Simon Goldrick
Policy & Information Officer


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Winter’s coming... don't slip up!

On 22/11/13 by Steve Livens (Policy Manager - Product Assurance & Supply Chain)

The prospect of attempting an accurate weather forecast at this time of year makes me feel about as grim as the weather itself! The most reliable technique seems to be just looking out of the window… However, despite cautioning about the inaccuracies of predicting longer term weather patterns, there seems to be a lot of hype that we will be facing post-apocalyptic, cold and snowy conditions between now and February!

Post -apocalyptic or not, one thing that we can all be sure of is the inevitability of winter and the various hazards that this entails. Slips, trips and falls are the most common workplace accident and no less so than during the latter part of the year. Less daylight and the build-up of wet and slippery leaves as well as ice and snow can make roads and walkways about as treacherous as an Andean mountain path! However, always remember that employers and site owners have a duty of care, not just to their own staff but to anyone who accesses their site, meaning that now is the perfect time to ensure that appropriate measures to protect staff and visitors alike are in place.

First thing’s first, check the lighting conditions around your site or pub. Is this sufficient for visitors or staff to see and avoid hazards at ground level? If necessary, improving lighting doesn't have to mean installing new ones and is more likely to be a case of replacing dead bulbs or even changing the type normally used. If lights are timed then check that these are set correctly. If new lights are needed make sure that these are fit for purpose and situated so as to evenly and clearly illuminate all walkways and paths.

Now that the lighting is sorted, make sure that all paths and walkways are clear of obstructions. During the autumn wet leaves and puddles can be treacherous. Piles of soggy leaves can become slippery as they decay and can also hide hazards such as uneven paving slabs or holes and uneven surfaces. According to the HSE, most slips occur at building entrances where people enter a site with wet shoes. Again, solutions are not always expensive and whilst installing an entrance canopy may be ideal, clearing immediate hazards and the use of absorbent mats will offer a greater degree of protection against slips.

Ultimately, perhaps the greatest seasonal challenge to employers is from ice and snow. At this time of year such conditions are unpredictable but employers must have a system in place to assess and manage this risk and now is the time to make sure that this is ready.

Start by identifying those outdoor areas used by pedestrians most likely to be affected by ice, for example: - building entrances, car parks, pedestrian walkways, shortcuts, sloped areas and areas constantly in the shade or wet. In terms of preventing hazards caused by the build-up of ice and snow, proactivity is key. Grit and salt will work on contact but are far more effective when ground into the surface. Monitor weather services for early signs of icy conditions or snow to allow time to prepare paths and walkways to prevent icy surfaces from forming. However, preventing build-up of ice may be difficult as winter progresses so regularly assess where paths and walkways are worst affected by such conditions and use cones or barriers to divert people to paths that are less icy.

Health and safety may at times seem like an endless task but it is vitally important to the wellbeing of staff and visitors alike and in turn is a fundamental part of the duty of care that employers hold. So with autumn well and truly established and winter on the way, take some time and consider some of the steps above to make sure that everyone who accesses your brewery or pub can do so without incident...oh, and...stay safe out there!

Steve Livens
Policy Manager - Product Assurance & Supply Chain


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Drunken Nights Out - a new approach

On 22/11/13 by Daisy Blench (Policy Manager - Responsibility)

Drinkaware held a brainstorming session this week on ‘Drunken Nights Out’ which brought together representatives from the Home Office, the police, the drinks industry, retailers, media and the creative industries to discuss the issues and generate new ideas to reduce harm resulting from binge drinking and public drunkenness in the night time economy.

The event followed on from a call for evidence on binge drinking as part of a research report that Drinkaware have commissioned to look at the problems and potential solutions.

It was quite refreshing to be at an event where people assumed that retailers are responsible and want to work in partnership to tackle problems in the night time economy. All too often nationally and in the media there is an assumption that pubs and bars seek to promote irresponsible behaviour. It can be extremely frustrating to go to meetings or read articles that seem to assume that the alcohol industry wants people to get drunk and behave badly. As any good licensee will tell you they want their pub to be open and welcoming to all and not have potential customers put off by drunken and offensive behaviour.

There were good discussions and ideas around dis-incentivising bad behaviour and encouraging young people to know their limits. One suggestion was to give out bananas outside clubs as people feel too silly to get into fights with a banana in their hand!

However, for me by far the most interesting part of the day was the recognition that for a relatively small number of young people the experience of going out at night was all about going over their limits and breaking the rules and therefore such initiatives may have little effect. A lot of people like to socialise and have a few drinks and some might even overindulge once in a while but the specific intention to go out and get drunk as the aim not a potential consequence of an evening seems to be a very different phenomenon.

Not a new observation by any means but a key question still seems to be why these young people felt they couldn’t get the same enjoyment and experiences in any other way and how to convince them otherwise?

It remains very important to keep these things in context and remember that national trends are all going in the right direction with overall alcohol consumption down 16% since 2004 and alcohol related crime down 23% since 2003. ‘Binge drinking’ has fallen dramatically for both men and women since 2005 – although the current definition of binge drinking (more than 8 units per day for men, and 6 for women) does not really fit with the type of drinking patterns that the day was attempting to address. It will be difficult to come up with the right solutions whilst Government and others are measuring and labelling something completely different.

It is also important to remember that the vast majority drink responsibly and therefore policies and legislation shouldn’t seek to limit or restrict enjoyment for all.

However, this remains an important issue to tackle and there were some interesting themes from the day which will need developing, not least how to influence individual behaviours alongside partnership working within communities to promote a safe and social night time economy.

Daisy Blench
Policy Manager - Responsibility


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Could your pub benefit from a Music Makeover?

On 20/11/13 by Neil Williams (Head of Media)

For the past few years, the BBPA has been supporting PRS for Music in their excellent Music Makeover Competition. And we are proud to do so. In Britain, pubs are where live music begins, with many of our most famous acts starting out in their local pub.

PRS collects royalties for the playing of music on behalf of songwriters. It is great that they put something back through this initiative, which gives pubs the chance to win £10,000 of kit to help improve their live music offering.

This year, the prize money has doubled, and the winner will be kitted out with equipment from music retailer GAK. There are also 10 runner-up prizes of £200 GAK vouchers to be won.

The competition launched last week - pubs can enter here ( with entries closing on 31st December.

If your pub is shortlisted, the team at PRS will pay a visit and make a short film, which will then be presented to a judging panel, with reps from PRS for Music, the Musicians Union, the Scottish Music Industry Association, and ourselves at the BBPA.

Last year's winner was the Burnaby Arms in Bedford, whose licensee Lucie Fuller, puts the benefits of winning very well:

“Regardless of whether you’re an independent pub or owned by a brewery, most landlords don’t have this kind of money to spend on doing up a space specifically for live music. Being able to revamp the pub with the new equipment gave us another avenue to explore and has benefited us immensely.”

Entering isn’t necessarily about having an amazing music offer to begin with, but showing how help from PRS could make a real difference. I hope as many pubs as possible take up the challenge.

Neil Williams
Head of Media


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£27million to play for – write to your MP to secure Better Rates for Pubs

On 19/11/13 by Gareth Barrett

With Christmas fast approaching, pubs are well into the planning, development and even delivery of a range of activities designed to take advantage of this short period of economic merriment. The challenge of getting the right amount of beer, wine, turkey, desserts; procuring the obligatory truckload of brussel sprouts; taking bookings; considering entertainment and managing staff rotas is a tough one - landlords are bound to be pressed for time over the next few weeks. However there’s something that publicans, alongside the brewers and pub companies who back them, should spend ten minutes doing - both for your own business and pubs across the country – write to your local MP about extending Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR).

Now it doesn’t sound glamorous, and it certainly won’t get the Christmas party started, but the loss of Small business Rate Relief (SBRR) would cost pubs across the country a massive £27 million. We also don’t have long – the decision to extend this relief (or not!) will take place in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement on December 5th. That’s why Charlotte Leslie MP, a big backer of pubs, put down a motion calling for SBRR to be extended (noted as EDM 599) alongside other pro-pub Business Rate asks. You can find out of your MP has signed it here – if not get writing and ensure that the industry voice is heard!

This effort to get secure extension on SBRR is only the start for the BBPA’s Business Rates campaign. We have teamed up with seven other industry bodies to form a joint initiative ‘Better Rates for Pubs’. We’ve set up a campaign page where you can delve more deeply into the issues here. However, it’s vital we keep MPs aware of the issue - and how pubs deserve a decent Christmas present this year - the extension of SBRR!

Gareth Barrett


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Irish Eyes are Smiling!

On 14/11/13 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

BBPA has always worked closely with the licensed victuallers in England (FLVA and GMV), Scotland (SLTA), and Ireland, but we have most recently looked at strengthening our ties with Pubs of Ulster, whose reach extends to cover most of hospitality, but with a strong emphasis on responsible retailing and working as we do, closely with Government.

I was delighted to be invited to the Pubs of Ulster 2013 Pub of the Year Gala Awards Dinner in Belfast last night and despite the fact that I am Irish by birth, made my first trip back to Northern Ireland since I was a child. It was an extremely good evening.

Mark Stewart, their Chairman and our host, spoke about the importance of pubs, hotels, restaurants and bars to the Irish hospitality industry. They are looking for changes to their Licensing legislation to allow the industry to compete in a modern environment. Their key asks include a reduction in VAT (offered to hospitality in the Republic of Ireland, but not in the North); a review of red tape and a greater recognition within the EU. They have established a Responsible Retailing Code with a complaints panel which is their equivalent of the Portman Group, but covering the on and off trade. All premises are subject to its judgements and they may in the fullness of time have statutory underpinning of the code in law. It is chaired by Duncan McCausland a gregarious former Assistant Chief Constable who clearly commands respect in the community.

As ever in Ireland there are close ties with the US and I was fortunate enough to sit next to their Consulate General, Greg Burton, with whom I discussed British beer and our TTIP asks! On my other side was Simon Hamilton MLA who is the Minister for Finance. He is a clear supporter of pubs and we discussed everything from beer duty to VAT, business rates and even the World Cup!

Pubs of Ulster are working on a Great Ulster Pubs week next year to celebrate great pubs, great music, great food and great hospitality. Pubs of Ulster have close links to Ulster rugby union club and Ulster Giants, their ice hockey team. Their extremely good and active CEO is Colin Neill who amongst other things is looking next year at a charity bike ride from London to Paris supported by all his pubs. This is something I will be supporting – and I hope you do as well!

Northern Ireland MPs in Westminster are clearly important now and likely to become more important during the next General Election. We discussed hosting an event for them at Westminster in the New Year, particularly on our latest campaign for a beer duty campaign freeze in the next Budget. Clearly beer and pubs are important not only to the people of Northern Ireland, but to their economy too and our current ties will certainly benefit from being strengthened.

Brigid Simmonds
Chief Executive


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A Promising Start

On 11/11/13 by Liz Gaffer (Director of Marketing & Charity Services, LTC)

Guest blog from Liz Gaffer of the Licensed Trade Charity

Since re-launching the Charity’s new Support and Care website this summer we have seen a 30% increase in the number of visitors to our website, which is a clear indicator to me that we are a useful and relevant support for those in the licensed drinks trade.

The most frequent call is about money worries. And whilst we don’t have a magic wand to wave these away, our helpline team are trained to work through callers’ issues and put together a concrete plan of action, which is proactively followed up at a later date. The feedback we’ve received so far is that the caring service we provide works. Sometimes all people need is the time and space to work through their issues and hear the right advice when it matters most. Our helpline 0808 801 0550 is free to those working in the trade – not many people know that.

Getting the message out there is important, and already the communication the BBPA has done has prompted 4 family brewers to say they will promote our support to their staff and business partners as part of their CSR package. Punch are promoting the helpline and website through their estate this month, with HR Director Jackie Burn saying that she sees our work as an extension of the support they already offer to staff and business partners.

We recently commissioned a white paper to highlight this, and would more organisations with a CSR-focus or not to get in touch to find out more. We are an occupational charity, supporting people working in pubs and breweries, often turning their lives around. That’s got to be another good thing the industry does.

Liz Gaffer
Director of Marketing & Charity Services, LTC


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Suffolk Bound

On 08/11/13 by Simon Goldrick (Policy & Information Officer)

Last Friday the BBPA team travelled up to Adnams Southwold for a brewery visit. These visits give us the opportunity to learn more about our member companies, the issues that really affect them and how their businesses are facing the challenges ahead.

After a bright and early start we were greeted by Andy Wood, Stephen Pugh and Emma Hibbert for a presentation on how Adnams has adapted to meet the challenges of the brewing industry. Their slogan of ‘Doing Things Right’ brilliantly summarises their policy of environmental and social responsibility whilst not taking the fun out of beer!

We were taken on an excellent brewery tour by Head Brewer, Fergus Fitzgerald, who spoke eloquently about the brewery and his own passion for brewing– demonstrating the qualities that made him the winner of the 2013 All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group ‘Brewer of the Year’ award. The brewhouse, built in 2008, is a modern, energy-efficient construction, fitted into the compact historic site and is now used not only in the production of the diverse range of Adnams beer but in the production of wash for the distillery. The distillery was installed in 2010 and is the only distillery on a brewery site in the UK. It was an interesting sight indeed - resplendent in burnished copper.

Lunch, also attended by Pubs Minister, Brandon Lewis MP, followed at the picturesque Harbour Inn providing an opportunity to taste the Adnams beers, ranging from the traditional Old Ale mild to the American inspired Ghost Ship, packed with Citra hops.

Finally we visited the distribution centre which perhaps would not feature in a typical brewery tour. However with a grass roof, hemp walls and a whole host of innovative, environmental features it was highly impressive and futuristic – a huge contrast with the wonderfully traditional Sole Bay Brewery, yet still fitting perfectly with Adnams entire business ethos.

Many thanks must go to everyone at Adnams for this fantastic day with some valuable lessons in how one brewery is succeeding, developing and evolving.

Simon Goldrick
Policy & Information Officer


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Get social to get healthy

On 07/11/13 by Sophie McIntyre

Unlike women, who often don’t need much of an excuse for a chat, new research suggests that men are having a bit of trouble keeping up with their close friends. There has of course been a general increase in interaction via social media and online which has in part led some men towards more solitary behaviour. This inclination to stay put at home and spend more time on Facebook and Twitter could, however, be bad for their health. Getting off the sofa and away from the PS3/Twittersphere, calling up a mate and heading to the pub for a catch up could help you live longer.

This may all sound a bit far fetched… However, a report has been commissioned by Guinness, authored by leading psychologist at Oxford University Professor Robin Dunbar. The report has found that men should be meeting up with their close friends face to face at least twice a week and that a reliance on social media interaction should be avoided as this doesn’t confer the same benefits.

Specifically, Dunbar claims that 60% of your social life is split between just 15 friends or family and that most men will have four male friends that they spend time with most frequently. The success of these close friendships is clearly important. However, I’m sure many do not realise that the strengths of these can, allegedly, impact not just your mental health but also how prone you are to illness and your speed of recovery when you do get struck down.

An article was recently published in Shortlist magazine, which involved details of a social experiment conducted by Dr Dunbar. Columnist Danny Wallace was involved with the experiment, during which a group of friends played a game of football together outside and then played each other at football virtually. The first experience left them feeling much happier than the second.

Despite the benefits of socialising frequently, the Guinness research has suggested that only 42 per cent of men manage to meet up with their friends once a week and 30 per cent struggle to manage that. It seems clear that socialising, whether that be sporting activities, going down the pub or something else can have a positive effect on mental and physical health.

What a great excuse for a pint!

Sophie McIntyre


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