OPINION: Everlasting appeal of the pub

By Ed Bedington, editor of The Morning Advertiser

- Last updated on GMT

Cornerstones of our lives: pubs provide a vital and ongoing role in their communities
Cornerstones of our lives: pubs provide a vital and ongoing role in their communities

Related tags Ed Bedington Social responsibility James May Greene king Joseph holt

Having recently spoken to a number of celebrity pub operators (all right two and a half), it’s a timely reminder that pubs retain a special place at the heart of this country.

Speaking to us on the Lock In podcast recently, James May said that the idea of not having a pub within walking distance of his house would mean “life would become meaningless”.

As reasons to buy your local pub go, it’s not a bad one, and many of the other celebrities that have found themselves losing money with a pub, sorry, running a pub, will attest to the same passion - generally, they’re not buying pubs for the astonishing amounts of money they’ll make, but for emotional reasons.

Basically all the reasons why any normal business person should not be buying a pub! 

But, for me, chatting to our two and a half celebs, it reinforced the fact pubs have a real hold over our hearts.

Cornerstone of life

They are places where children have grown up, relationships forged, relationships broken, lives and deaths celebrated.

For many, they are the cornerstone of our social lives, providing the glue that keeps communities and social circles together.

And they’ve been doing it for a long time. In the last week or so I’ve attended to milestone celebrations, Bateman’s 150th anniversary lunch and Joseph Holt’s 175th anniversary lunch.

Apart from the fact, as my wife points out, I go to far too many lunches, it was great to get to celebrate the history and legacy of such businesses. Joseph Holt, in particular, chose to highlight its role and history in establishing and supporting The Christie cancer hospital, and managed to raise an impressive £150,000 for the charity with the lunch as well.

This legacy and community support is indicative of a trade that has deep roots and inspires great passion as well.

Make sure you enter the GBPA

I also attended the recent Greene King Night of Excellence awards (I don’t know how I fit all these events in around the work, cough), which was also a great opportunity to celebrate some amazing businesses and amazing operators.

We’ve got the Great British Pub Awards currently open for judging, and I hope many of you enter the competition this year - it’s a great chance for us to shine a light on some of the fantastic pubs out there, and remind consumers why it is so important to support their local businesses.

The Great British Pub Awards, and the Greene King awards, are a great chance for the operators themselves to drive further footfall and custom. It’s also a great way to reinforce relations with your existing customers, as let’s face it, being able to say “my local’s the best in the business” is pretty great bragging rights.

Despite challenges in the short term and present, we need to remember the sheer legacy and the ongoing vital role in the communities we serve.

And if we continue to get that right, we’ll see more celebrities queuing up to lose money running a pub for years to come!

Related topics Rebuilding the Pub Sector

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