A year in the pub trade: 2017 review

By Georgina Townshend contact

- Last updated on GMT

From the freeze of beer duty, the Punch-Heineken deal, pub-specific business rates reductions, to the 10-year anniversary of the smoking ban, a lot has happened in the pub trade during 2017.

There's no doubt that 2017 has seen a mix of optimism and negativity – with Brexit, business rates and beer sales dominating publicans' and industry leaders' minds.

The year didn't get off to a great start, as the first wave of brewers unveiled their price increases​ for 2017 in January, which highlighted the ongoing pressures on the beer industry.

Things were also looking uncertain in the Punch-Heineken deal, as the Competition and Markets Authority launched it's investigation​ into the proposed acquisition of 1,900 pubs in February.

In March, pubs were given a helping hand by the Government, with a specific £1,000 business rates relief announced in the Spring Budget.

In May, things seemed to be looking more positive as a flurry of large pubcos and breweries, including Marston's and Carlsberg, added to their portfolios.

However, June gloom struck as the UK was thrown into mourning once again as a major terror attack hit the streets of London Bridge and Borough Market. During this time, pubs were praised for the vital role they played​ in protecting and caring for stranded, injured and scared civilians – not only in this terror attack but in previous ones throughout the year as well.

Moving forward, July marked the 10-year anniversary of the smoking ban, and August saw the Punch-Heineken deal finally complete.

In and around September, several warnings were voiced, from struggles with business rates, inflation and changes in consumer demands - posing the question are pubs are facing the greatest threat than ever before?

However, things started to look more positive at the end of the year. In November beer, wine and spirit duty was frozen​ and the £1,000 business rates relief was extended in the Autumn Budget.

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