Will there be an increased resurgence and focus on wet-led operations?

By Ed Bedington

- Last updated on GMT

Will there be a resurgence in wet-led pubs?

Related tags Events Ed Bedington Beer Wet-led pubs

They say that everything goes in cycles. When I started on The Morning Advertiser seven dim-and-distant years ago (I was young once), the talk was all of how the wet-led pub’s demise was imminent.

There was no future in wet-led, food was the answer and pubs should be embracing the opportunity to give themselves the headaches of trying to recruit, retain and work with chefs!

But as with Mark Twain, rumours of the wet-led pub’s death were exaggerated and slowly, over the years, we started to see something of a renaissance, initially with premium bars delivering superb experiences, but also with community wet-led pubs, which were firmly thrust into the spotlight during the lockdown.

Sideways into headwinds

Earlier this week, I was at MCA​’s Pub Conference and listening to revered financial whizz and industry legend Peter Hansen talk about how wet-led pubs were not going to be immune to the oncoming storm of challenges, but with reduced exposure to a wide range of costs, they could at least face sideways into those headwinds.

So, are we coming full circle? Are we going to see an increased resurgence and focus on wet-led operations as pubs operators seek to reduce their exposure to escalating food prices, utility costs, and chef shortages?

Reduce food focus

I’ve said before pubs are uniquely placed within the hospitality sector to weather the challenges ahead. The ability to flex your offer, dial up certain elements, and dial down others is going to be key to survival.

So it will be interesting to see whether we see a reduced focus on food in the coming months and years, and a return to the traditional wet-led operation.

Whatever happens, it’ll be tough, but the ability of pubs to adapt and change is what marks our sector out as survivors and I’ve every faith we’ll come out the other side, leaner maybe, but stronger. And with a few more wet-led pubs.

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