The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) predicts that the knock-on effect of the 2020 Six Nations between 1 February and 15 March will be an extra 7m pints poured in UK pubs – that’s enough to quench the thirst of every adult of drinking age in Scotland and Wales, or water the 82,000-capacity Twickenham Stadium 85 times over.
What’s more, the industry body has forecast this year’s 15-fixture feast of international rugby will boost pub coffers to the tune of £27m over the next six weeks.
“There’s no better place to enjoy live sport on the telly than at the pub with fellow friends and family, so it’s great to see so many rugby fans planning to watch the Six Nations at their local,” former Rugby Football Union employee, current chief executive of the BBPA and passionate rugby fan, Emma McClarkin explains.
“With matches taking place at favourable times on the weekends, the Six Nations will be welcome news to our sector.
“We expect a boost of 7m pints of beer sold in pubs due to those watching the matches.”
Ei Group and Marston’s all in for The Clink
Ei Group, the operator of around 4,000 pubs in the UK, has teamed up with Wolverhampton-based brewer Marston’s to raise money for The Clink – a charity that reduces re-offending by equipping prisoners with the skills to enter full-time employment within the hospitality sector upon release.
Available in selected Ei Publican Partnership, Bermondsey and Craft Union pubs, 3.8% ABV cask amber bitter, Passing Time will be available throughout this year’s Six Nations tournament until 12 March with 25p from every pint sold donated to The Clink.
Passing Time, brewed with Fuggles and Golden hops to give a tangy and refreshing taste, is available to Ei publicans online or via the customer contact centre. It represents the latest phase in Ei’s partnership with The Clink, which was established last year.
“We’re delighted to continue our support for The Clink Charity and bring this exclusive beer to communities across the UK,” Paul Harbottle, group commercial director at Ei Group, said.
Every day, The Clink helps about 200 prisoners work towards attaining national vocational qualifications in food service, food preparation, food hygiene and horticulture.
The charity operates four training restaurants in collaboration with Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service at present in addition to a café, training kitchen, gardens, and an event catering business.
“We’re hugely thankful to both Ei Group and Marston’s for their continued support,” Christopher Moore, chief executive at The Clink, added. “The funds raised will be invaluable in supporting us with training offenders and providing them the structure they need to gain employment upon their release.”
Top sports buzz
According to a survey by sport pub finding app MatchPint, the 2020 Six Nations is the most hotly anticipated sporting event of the 2019-20 winter period. Nearly half (43%) of fans surveyed stated it was the event they were most looking forward to – ahead of Premier League football and generating more than twice the buzz of Anthony Joshua’s rematch with Andy Ruiz and Super Bowl LIV.
MatchPint also forecasts the number of people searching for a pub to watch this year’s Six Nations will grow by close to a third (29.5%) versus last year’s tournament driven by increased interest in rugby from solid showings by the Home Nations at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
“There are few better sporting occasions than watching the Six Nations, surrounded by friends, strangers, and opposition fans alike in a great pub or bar,” Dom Collingwood, co-founder of MatchPint, explains.
“It’s one of a handful of events that attracts ‘flirts’ into sport each year, together with international football tournaments and major boxing fights.
As such, we see huge spikes in the number of people looking for a great pub nearby in which to enjoy one of the world’s greatest tournaments with great food, great beer, and great company.”
Greene King ball pit
Barely a drop kick from Twickenham’s Cabbage Patch, another match-day haunt is offering rugby fans the chance to dive into this year’s Six Nations.
Greene King, brewer and operator of around 2,700 venues across England, Wales and Scotland, has offered visitors to the George in Twickenham, Surrey, a unique vantage point from which to enjoy this year’s Six Nations.
The creator of Greene King IPA – community club partner to England Rugby – has created a 12ft rugby ball pit at the pre-match watering hole found near the home of English rugby.
Open for the first two weeks of this year’s Six Nations, the rugby ball pit – which Greene King is describing as the “ultimate rugby viewing experience” – has been installed to celebrate more than 900 Greene King pubs taking a punt on the Six Nations this year.
Fans taking the plunge will enjoy two free pints of Greene King IPA during England matches – away trips to France and Scotland – as well watching Wales host Italy in the first Six Nations clash of a new decade, and away days for Scotland and Wales in Dublin.
“Everyone loves the atmosphere of watching sport in the pub – there’s nothing better than getting together with mates and enjoying the game,” Chris Conchie, head of sport at Greene King, explained.
“To celebrate the Six Nations, we wanted to create the ultimate viewing experience for rugby fans by launching the first ever rugby ball pit. It’s the perfect place to dive in, throw around a few rugby balls, and enjoy a pint of IPA while catching up on the latest games.
“If you fancy giving it a ‘try’ for yourself, why not ‘scrum’ down to the George and experience the most fun rugby screening you’ll ever experience. We guarantee you’ll have a ball.”
Fans can book their space in the George’s pit by visiting Greene King’s website.
A seasoned veteran of England’s Six Nations campaigns, Stuart Green of self-styled ‘world-famous rugby pub’ the Cabbage Patch in Twickenham, Surrey, welcomed the BBPA’s McClarkin on the eve of this year’s tournament.
“It was great to welcome Emma to the Cabbage Patch and tell her about the fantastic things we have planned for the Six Nations,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter which team’s colours you’re wearing, rugby is an inclusive sport, so where better to watch it than at the pub with friends and fellow fans.
“As the most famous rugby pub in the world, the Cabbage Patch will be packed out with a unique atmosphere, great beer and tasty food for all the Men’s and Women’s Six Nations games that only a pub can provide.”