The Publican's 30th Birthday: Chris Hutt

Related tags Laurel pub company Beer 21st century

Chris Hutt, chairman of Laurel Pub Company, helps mark The Publican Newspaper's 30th Birthday.What were you doing 30 years ago?I was managing...

Chris Hutt, chairman of Laurel Pub Company, helps mark The Publican Newspaper's 30th Birthday.

  • What were you doing 30 years ago?

I was managing director of CAMRA Investments Ltd, the pub owning arm of the Campaign for Real Ale. We started in 1974. A year later we had five pubs.

What has been the biggest change in the pub industry in the past 30 years?

Pubs have moved from being outlets for beer production to a retail industry which tries to serve the changing needs of its customers. The 1989 Beer Orders were key in breaking the industry's malignant vertical integration.

Which individual has had the biggest impact on the pub trade in the past 30 years?

Tim Martin. His leadership of JDWetherspoon over a quarter of a century was brilliant - effective, driven, radical and very customer-focussed.

What are the biggest challenges facing the industry over the next 30 years?

The rising tide of regulation is raising everyone's cost base relentlessly. Small pubs, often in remote areas, are most at risk.

When did you first read a copy of The Publican?

As soon as the first edition was published. It was exciting to have a competitor to the Morning Advertiser, which was very fuddy-duddy at the time.

Do you have a message for us on our 30th birthday?

Keep on reflecting our industry, keep on campaigning, more strength to your elbow. Pubs provide hundreds of thousands of jobs, and serve tens of millions of customers. People need to eat, to drink, to sleep-pubs take care of all of this. Above all, though, people of all ages like to have fun. Don't let the 21st century thought police spoil it.

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