Hampshire in numbers
- Hampshire comprises the local authorities: Basingstoke & Deane, East Hampshire, Eastleigh, Fareham, Gosport, Hart, Havant, New Forest, Rushmoor, Test Valley and Winchester.
- There are 836 pubs providing employment for 8,178 people (direct, indirect and induced) Source: British Beer & Pub Association
- Between 2001 and 2011 the Hampshire Economic Area population aged between 16 and 74 increased by 8.1%. The population in the two cities of Portsmouth and Southampton as well as in the district of Basingstoke & Deane has increased by the highest proportion, 13.3%, 11.5% and 10.2% respectively.
- Some 61% of people drive to work in Hampshire, 5% were car passengers, 1% on motorcycle, 4% went by train, 4% by bus and 4% by bicycle. 11% worked at home and 10% walked. Source: Hampshire County Council – Census 2011
The region boasts two national parks: the New Forest and South Downs. Its coastline stretches from Highcliffe in the west of the county to Chichester Harbour in the east. And it has major towns and cities from Basingstoke, Southampton and Portsmouth to the more upmarket Winchester.
It is also home to a number of breweries, distilleries and wineries with the Ringwood Brewery, Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery, Winchester Distillery and a raft of vineyards
The popular ITV period drama Downton Abbey was filmed at Hampshire’s Highclere Castle to the north of the county. It was also the home of famous writers Charles Dickens and Jane Austen, and the childhood home of Florence Nightingale.
It also boasts some strong transport links with the M3 and the train line linking the southern region to London.
According to Hampshire County Council’s analysis of the 2011 census, the region is growing similarly to the UK although it is ageing more rapidly and diversifying more gradually.
In Hampshire, including Southampton and Portsmouth, there were 1,759,700 people living in the region in 2011.
And it is a region that loves pubs with 836 providing employment for 8,178 people.
Fuller’s has around 65 managed houses in Hampshire ranging from destination dining, accommodation pubs, and multi-level venues to small community sites.
Jane Bravey, head of operations – quality at Fuller’s, says Hampshire is a really diverse area with cities like Portsmouth, to villages and small towns, as well as the tourist destination of the New Forest.
She says it is a very family-orientated region as people look to move to the county to a more affordable area and there is also a retirement community.
“The demographics are varied,” she says. “The range of customers goes from eight months to 80. The market is less based on business and more on leisure.”
Food is a real focus in the region with people willing to travel to eat and drink in a good pub.
“Research that we have done shows that people are willing to travel up to half an hour to a go to a really great pub,” she says.
One of the benefits of operating in the region is that its venues can respond to seasonality changes.
“We have a lot of pubs with big gardens and when the sun is out we can really maximise our trade,” she says.
Having more space at its venues means it can also capitalise on not just the staycation market but functions, offering events such as weddings.
But despite this being an affluent area, Fuller’s is keen to point out that retired people are still price-savvy. And because a lot of them have time, they will shop around for a good deal and the value of the experience.
As well as being home to a vibrant pub market, the region boasts a range of producers.
Winchester Distillery, home of Twisted Nose Watercress Gin, is based a few miles outside the town in Old Alresford, near Winchester.
Former software developer Paul Bowler set up the distillery in 2014, initially selling the gin at the Hampshire farmers’ markets and through local pubs and restaurants.
“We have a wealth of natural resources, such as the crystal clear chalk streams and superb produce, as well as a real community spirit,” he says.
“Winchester is the perfect hub for foodies and gin drinkers with so many great pubs, bars and restaurants that take care to source locally. Gin menus can be found in many outlets and we regularly work with them to host gin tastings as well as gin and food events.”
Pull of tourism
While pub operators continue to work with producers in the region, there is also the strong pull of the tourist trade as people travel for the staycation market and those holiday breaks.
Savills director of licensed leisure in Southampton Chris Bickle says one of the key elements in the market is the New Forest, which is a strong tourist location.
He admits there are “real gems” of pubs in the region in areas such as Lymington, which attract not just the locals but also tourist visitors.
“There is a competitive market within the established high street locations and premium dining locations,” he says.
“This is where a lot of operators have spent a lot of time and e‑ ort to grow estates in those locations.”
He says the most popular are areas and pubs where operators can achieve an income of over £20,000 a week, with good access, car parking and revenue-generating accommodation.
He admits there is slower interest at the lower end tied lease market but strong interest in free of tie and freehold.
Pubs with rooms are also a popular choice for many operators in the region. While he admits accommodation is not right for every operator, many of those that have expanded in the region in the past five to 10 years are developing more pubs with rooms, which help drive F&B sales.
Hampshire is a region that boasts everything from that country break to that coastal destination meaning that as well as a diverse customer base it has a diverse mix of pub operations.
The George on the Green, Maidenhead, Berkshire
Wet:dry split: 40:60
Landlord: Ei Group
Agent: Davey Co 0333 200 8788
The pub was owned and operated by the exiting licensee for the past 13 years. The traditional style village pub with food is situated in a stunning location on a large village green in the centre of a village between Windsor, Bray-on-Thames and Maidenhead. There is considerable further scope including adding letting bedrooms.
The Crown Inn, Cootham, West Sussex
Tenure: Leasehold – fi ve years remain
Turnover: c£750,000 (inc VAT)
Wet:dry split: 40:60
Landlord: Ei Group
Agent: Guy Simmonds 01332 865112
This traditional 19th century inn is set in a beautiful West Sussex village. The pub was placed on the market for the first time in 10 years and was sold to Mr and Mrs Scott. The licensees, who are new to the trade, are looking to enhancing the existing food offering.
The Crown has a public bar, lounge bar and a multi-functional restaurant. There is also a fully equipped commercial catering kitchen, two-lawned beer gardens and a 30-space car park.
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