Long gone are the days of limited choice, according to the Good Beer Guide 2020, CAMRA’s premier publication featuring the very best pubs to find a great pint in the UK.
With forwards from award-winning beer writer Emma Inch and licensee Jodie Kidd, the impact of choice and diversity on the beer and pubs industry cannot be clearer.
Figures from the latest Guide, now in its 47th year, show that pubs have diversified their offerings with 61% of pubs offering evening meals and 65% offering lunch food, compared to traditional wet-led pubs.
In addition, many of the pubs in the Guide offer some kind of community event or activity, such as providing a social beer garden (76%), screening live sports (32%) or providing entertainment (43%).
This is complemented with a surge in 1,850 real ale breweries, making more flavours and styles available to consumers than ever before.
Award-winning beer writer and podcaster Emma Inch writes:
“A decade ago, there were just a few hundred breweries in the UK; today there are nearly two thousand. This rapid growth has brought with it even more choice than most British beer drinkers have ever known… Beer has embraced diversity, and I’m not just talking about the liquid in your glass. Over the past few years the way we discuss beer, the aesthetic surrounding it, the people who brew it, and even the people who drink it have begun to change.”
Former model and TV presenter Jodie Kidd shares how she saved the Half Moon pub from closure and turned it into a thriving community local, offering plenty of events and activities to attract footfall:
“We hold lots of events from Summer Solstice parties to BBQs, and we have weddings and events all year round – such as curry nights and quiz night. The WI (Women’s Institute) have their meetings there as well. Charities will often use the pub as a central meeting point and we also use the pub as a great place to start off charity bike rides and fundraising events.”
CAMRA recently ran a Summer of Pub campaign encouraging pubs to capitalise on this trend by hosting events such as quiz night or comedy evenings in their pub throughout the warmer months. The campaigning organisation helped cross-publicise these events to encourage pub-going by the nation’s beer lovers.
Tom Stainer, CAMRA’s Chief Executive adds: “Long gone are the days of limited choice – today’s beer drinker now not only has a huge range of beer styles and flavours to choose from, but also a number of fantastic venues for choice that are working harder than ever before to attract footfall.
“Pubs play a crucial role in our communities and social lives, and it’s heartening to see such diversity in the beer industry and a real drive to encourage more people to enjoy a brew. Beer drinking and pub-going is for everyone, and these days you are guaranteed to find a pint you love in a pub that suits your tastes – we can all cheers to that!”