Thomas Buxton, who took over freehold pub the Hop & Berry in Islington, north London, at the end of December, told the Publican’s Morning Advertiser the unusual move was worth it to encourage locals to visit the pub, despite costing him thousands of pounds.
Customers can claim their free pint using their Crowdit app, which also allows Buxton to ensure drinkers aren’t receiving more than one free beer.
“Obviously January is a very tough time,” he said.
“At the weekend we get a decent trade, but in the midweek there's very little. A combination of factors have led to this - the location, the previous management and a lot of inconsistency in how it was run - but this is a fantastic space that deserves to be full."
“If there’s no one in you’re not making any money anyway. But if people come in for a free pint and then end up staying for more or ordering food, then it pays for itself. Yes, there’s been a small percentage that come in for the free pint and then leave, but they might come back another day and have five. If people are in the habit of coming to the pub, then even when the promotion is over it’ll be ingrained in them that this is a good place to come.”
Customers can choose from any of the pub’s selection of craft beers every day until 24 March.
He added that it was a ‘short term sacrifice’ that would benefit the pub in the long run and urged fellow licensees to think more creatively about how they promote their businesses.
“I’m not giving away free pints just because I like to show people a good time. I knew I had a potentially limited time frame here and I had to think about what I could do to help the pub have the most potential and create the most buzz.”