More people are drinking in pubs and bars, but there is still a lot of work to be done if the trade is to make the most of the available market.
According to a survey by the Campaign for Real Ale, nearly a quarter of people never visit pubs - a figure the industry says is encouraging.
Bob Cartwright, head of communications at Bass Leisure Retail, said he believes the trade has made real progress in attracting new people into pubs and bars.
He said: "The amount of people who never visit pubs is quite encouraging - that figure used to be higher. Attracting a wider range of people than before has been one of the great success stories of the last few years in the pub and bar industry.
"The decline of the traditional industrial pub-going areas and the traditional pub-goer has meant we have had to go out and attract new drinkers.
"For example there are young professionals in new industries such as IT, and women, who weren't among the traditional pub-goers. People who are retiring earlier are important, as are families.
"I think the industry should continue working very hard to make sure pubs and bars appeal to a wider section of the population."
CAMRA said the figures showed pubs needed to expand the range of facilities they offer in order to appeal to a wider group of people.
Mike Benner, head of campaigns at CAMRA, said: "It's great to see going to the pub is still a popular pastime. But the survey reveals an important lesson for pub companies - it is increasingly important to meet the needs of a wide cross-section of people."
The survey showed real ale and country pubs are growing in popularity. Half the 1,000 people questioned said they preferred drinking in country pubs and a further third would choose to drink in community pubs.
Just 16 per cent of drinkers said they would pick a themed town centre bar.
Draught lager is still the most popular drink among men with 31 per cent of the vote, but real ale is catching up - 30 per cent of men said they would most like to be seen drinking real ale in a pub.