The Telegraph: The Village that saved its pub

Residents of a remote spot in Cumbria banded together to keep their local inn open. David Cameron is cheered – but can it prosper on community spirit alone?

Standing on a narrow fell road in the thinly populated wilds of Cumbria, the Butchers Arms is the kind of modest-to-a-fault pub you’d be most likely to find when lost and then think: “I wonder how that old joint keeps going?” It would be a fair question, too. Especially at a time when 30 pubs a week are closing down, most of them in more promising locations than the Butchers Arms.

All last week, though, the Butchers was heaving. David Cameron dropped in recently for a drink and to offer his best wishes for the venture. Inquiries about visiting came from all over the world, and television broadcast vans rumbled past rickety sheep pens into the village of Crosby Ravensworth, a place whose 300 residents just may have broken the lingering death lock on the traditional British pub.

To read more click here.


BBC: Communities ‘need more’ to save local pubs, says AM

Communities struggling to save their local pub should have more help from the public and private sector, says a North Wales AM.

Llyr Huws Gruffydd said he will write to large pub-owning companies (pubcos) to see if they will give regulars the first chance to buy a pub being sold.

The Plaid AM’s comments come after a report showed 375 pubs closed in Wales from 2007-10, 80 of them in the north.

To read more click here.

Hurray for the Sunday Mirror’s campaign to save the Great British Pub

Save Our Pubs: The Sunday Mirror’s campaign to save the Great British local from extinction

They have been at the heart of our communities for centuries – but now Britain’s pubs are under threat.

Six close down every day and those still open face a constant struggle to survive.

The local is in crisis.

So today the Sunday Mirror calls on PM David Cameron to honour his election promise that his Government would be “pub-friendly and take the urgent action needed to protect a treasured national institution”. Click here to read more.

Working to make pubs even better

British people like pubs. It’s as simple as that. They might not go to them all the time, or stick a ‘save my local’ bumper sticker on their car, but every single piece of research I’ve seen in twenty years of working in the industry says that British people would rather have pubs than not. And that’s a brilliant start isn’t it?

Over the years there have been various nationwide campaigns to try and help the pub industry. I absolutely believe we need to keep those up. It’s great to ensure MPs are being badgered by their local communities to take an interest in pubs, in taxation on beer and in how we keep pubs at the heart of British life.

Working together has got to be better than working in isolation. And yet, part of me feels like this group action might also be taking responsibility away from individual publicans, brewers and every single one of us to make pubs better.

Why is it that some pubs are full? Why do some pubs offer all sorts of brilliant extra things to their consumers from quiz nights to dog washing to parcel collection? How have some pubs got it so right, when others are empty?

The answer I’m afraid lies in part with the individual publican. Wherever they are from city centre to tiny village, they’ve made an effort to understand the needs of their local community and then created a space that is enticing and relevant today. You can’t just stick free Wi-Fi in your pub and sit back to watch the crowds come in.

I love pubs, I love this industry and I want it to succeed. So just as you might tell a good friend they’d got it wrong, I’d like to say in the nicest possible way that we could be accused of being stuck in our ways, of being lazy and of not putting our consumers first.

We’re in the amazing position of people wanting pubs. Let’s make the most of it. If each pub in the land did five things to make itself an even better place to be – from improving its drinks offering, to tidying up the beer garden, to getting round to sorting out its website – then we’d be in better shape.

And if every single one of us (instead of just liking the ideas of pubs) actually went to one a month for the next year then that would be a good start. But it would be even better if we took responsibility for helping the landlords and ladies by giving them direct feedback. Tell them what they are doing well, and what they could do better. Don’t just go home and grumble about how useless your boozer is, actually do the un-British thing and complain. You can do it nicely at the bar, or if you feel uncomfortable you can do it here online.

Then we as an industry, and as individuals, have to promise to listen and to act. We have to avoid being defensive, or blaming someone else. We have to hear our consumers out and if it’s sensible try to do something about it. Because if they take the time to tell us, and we all listen, then every single pub in the country will be a better place to be. As the famous meerkat says. Simples.

By Stuart Mills, founder, as featured in Host magazine