A recent report from Oxford Economics (OE), commissioned by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), has found that the beer and pub industry in Britain employs nearly 900,000 people with a contribution of £23.1bn to the British economy. There are more than 49,000 pubs across the country. With more pubs now serving food as a profitable sideline, there is great interest in this sector.
So as the only dedicated trade show for the pub industry in the UK, you would expect PUB17 to be popular. And to the delight but not the surprise of the organisers, it was bigger and more attended than ever before, showing an 8% increase year on year.
The two-day show took place at Olympia from 7 to 8 February, with more than 3,700 visitors coming through the doors. Over 200 exhibitors showcased their products and dozens of free-to-attend talks from the leading lights of the industry took place. The talks were categorised into three areas: the Taste Table, the PUB Theatre and the Margin Masterclass.
These talks targeted current and relevant issues, from Brexit to recruitment and retention in the hospitality industry. Wotzon gave a masterclass on a new app that lets user find out everything they want to know about a pub, and Borough Wines tapped into the potential of using kegged wines.
One of the most direct talks came from JD Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin who argued that two taxes are killing pubs – business rates and VAT. He advocated that the “industry campaigns to prioritise excise duty help supermarkets as well as pubs”.
Supermarkets pay about 2% of their sales as business rates whereas pubs are assessed for business rates at about 12% of sales. By the same equation, pubs pay 20% VAT on food sales, whereas supermarkets pay almost nothing. He went on to state that “the message from the industry needs to ring out loud and clear – lower excise duty is important, but tax equality is paramount.”
PUB17 was a great success with visitors, exhibitors and organisers all satisfied with the turnout and the feedback. George Nightingale, owner of Spoken Bar in Exmouth, said: “PUB17 was a showcase of must-have brands in the industry, but most importantly some of the latest products and innovations.”
Sam Gunn, PUB17 marketing manager said: “PUB17 was another fantastic show and we are thrilled with the results. Its success is testament to the importance of providing a show dedicated to pubs, which keeps publicans up-to-date with trends, provides them with new ideas and insight, and networking opportunities with like-minded individuals.”
PUB18 will return to London on 6th and 7th February 2018.