A time for rejoicing

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Pubs, Golden jubilee

With industry headlines dominated by the drop in trade after the events of September 11, pubs are in desperate need of some good news.If the...

With industry headlines dominated by the drop in trade after the events of September 11, pubs are in desperate need of some good news.

If the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) gets its act together and approves a deregulation order for extended licensing hours for the Queen's Golden Jubilee next June this could be what licensees have been waiting for.

Although just a drop in the ocean, a four-day bank holiday next year is the ideal opportunity for the trade to encourage the nation to party and subsequently boost profits.

The bonus weekend runs from Saturday June 1 through to Tuesday June 4 - something that many of the UK's pubgoers are still unaware of.

It is also the ideal opportunity to claw back some of the money lost through poor summer weather, the foot-and-mouth outbreak and the aftermath of the US attacks.

For this reason, preparations for the nation's celebrations are already underway and organisers of the event are urging pubs across the country to plan now and start publicising a "party to remember".

Bruno Peek (pictured)​, chairman of the Golden Jubilee Summer Party told The Publican Newspaper: "With tourism suffering from what's happened in America, this is the perfect opportunity for pubs to boost profits.

"We can encourage people in this country to visit UK destinations rather than going abroad. The extended holiday next June can only be good news for licensees," he said.

"It will be a four-day bank holiday and we are encouraging pubs to party all weekend. The tourism industry has been hit hard, but if pubs start to organise a party for next year they'll be able to get some of this back.

"Customers will be expecting something special and licensees should come up with ideas now. There is also a website where pubs can register their details. Customers can log onto this and choose where to go - so it's important that people don't forget to register."

The Laurel Pub Co is already involved. Head of communications, Maureen Heffernan, said: "We will be supporting the celebrations and will be encouraging our pubs to hold parties. We will be providing licensees with packs and information early in the New Year.

"It's a great opportunity to show that we're proud of our heritage and royal family and boost tourism."

Bob Cartwright, director of communications at Six Continents Retail, said: "There are clearly lots of opportunities for pubs to make the most of the celebrations. It should help bump up trade for everybody, especially in mind of the recent blow to tourism.

"There will be a host of parties and promotions and we will be encouraging customers to come into pubs."

But as always, there could be a problem. While licensees are hoping they will be able to trade until 1am on Monday June 3, if the Government fails to pull out all the stops and process the deregulation order for extended hours, the trade could face yet more disappointment.

The DCMS said it was confident that the extension would be granted but added that it could not guarantee it.

Even if the trade is granted this extension, there could be a battle with magistrates to extend hours at other times throughout the long weekend. Trade leaders have warned that magistrates may reconsider applications for the other four days.

Martin Rawlings, spokesman for the British Beer and Pub Association, said there was concern that magistrates in some areas would consider the 1am extension enough and turn down applications for the weekend of June 1 and 2.

Georgina Wald, public relations manager at the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), has said she was disappointed that licensing hours had not been extended on Sunday June 2 and hoped magistrates would take a relaxed approach to individual applications.

A spokesperson for the Magistrates' Association said that applications would be treated normally and magistrates would look at them on an individual basis. Organisers of the Golden Jubilee Summer Party have said that a guide will soon be issued to licensees offering advice on how to make the most of the opportunity and the organisation is asking all licensees who are planning to hold a party to register with them by the beginning of March next year. This will allow organisers to include details of events on the website so that customers will know what's going on in their local pub.

And any amazing or unusual ideas could be given more publicity on the website, Mr Peek said. Pubs can register by email at info@goldenjubileesummerparty.co.uk

What can you do?

Licensees could:

  • decorate their pub in the colours of the British flag
  • create a special food menu to celebrate the Jubilee
  • run special Jubilee promotions on drinks
  • book entertainment
  • have a garden party
  • hold events for children.

Some advice for the trade:

  • make sure you apply for special extended licences in plenty of time
  • publicise the event
  • let the organisers of the Golden Jubilee Summer Party know what your plans are so that they can include the information on their website
  • involve the local community.

Comment

Tony Payne of the Federation of Licensed Victuallers Association, was working in the trade for the Queen' s Silver Jubilee in 1977 and remembers it well. "We had a great time," he said.

"The Silver Jubilee was a brilliant time for pubs and customers."

"I have some memorabilia such as Silver Jubilee Ale sat on my shelf now, and I also have some Golden Jubilee Stout, 1939-1989."

He added that it was a good chance for pubs to take advantage of the extra two hours, if the DCMS approves a deregulation order for extended hours until 1am on Monday June 3.

"What surprises me is that pubs fail to market events," Mr Payne said. "This is a great opportunity to encourage people back into pubs and create a family atmosphere which is important. Pubs can double their usual profits if they market the event properly."

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