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Times Sure Are A-Changing: PUB17 Review

By Lucy Richardson, Associate Director

Pub17 returned to Olympia yesterday with bar and pub operators from across the country flocking to the trade show to find out the latest industry trends and to hear what they should be doing in outlet to maximise their profits. Within seconds of walking into the venue, it was evident just what a significant shift there has been in the pub industry in recent years; once the domain of men, beer and pork scratchings, today’s pubs need to offer so much more as the variety of exhibitors cleared showed.

The growth in premium mixers was apparent with both Fever Tree and Britvic sampling to those passing the stand and the opportunity that soft drinks present for pub operators was also a talking point of the show, with Britvic’s charismatic Leisure & Licensed Senior Customer Marketing Manager, Russell Kirkham, offering insights into how publicans can maximise their profits through soft drinks with advice centring on the importance of appealing to millennials. All seemingly good advice if the notes being scribbled down by the audience were anything to go by!

Other interesting points raised at the show were the integration of soft drinks into drinks menus rather than being tagged on as an afterthought (a la vegetarian dishes on menus 20 years ago – mushroom risotto, anyone?) and the importance of NOT upselling – which as a former waitress and bartender myself, was music to my ears. It’s insulting if you go in to a bar and ask for a JD and cola and the bartender suggests something else – if the consumer asks your advice, then go for it, but if they don’t, just let them make their own choice. Today it’s all about creating an experience in the bar in which the consumer feels relaxed and doesn’t feel pressured as then the price of the evening won’t be an issue. If they’ve had an amazing experience, they’ll be back, whatever the price – that’s the theory anyway and by the nodding heads around me, it seemed to be resonating with the publicans in the audience.

To read more about the event, search for #PUB17 on Twitter or visit www.thepubshow.co.uk