Rise in young landlords drives pub and bar growth

By Sophie Witts

- Last updated on GMT

Landlords aged 25-34 now account for 15 per cent of the industry
Landlords aged 25-34 now account for 15 per cent of the industry

Related tags Public house Landlord United kingdom British beer and pub association

Rising turnover and a surge of young talent entering the industry are providing encouraging signs of growth for the pub sector, according to new data from Barclays released today (22 May).

The research, which focused on Barclays’ business customers in the pub and bar sector, found that the number of business owners aged 25 to 34 has increased by a quarter in the last three years, and now account for 15 per cent of the industry.

Average annual turnover in pubs has risen 23 per cent since 2012, benefiting from growing consumer confidence​ and spending.

Adam Rowse, head of business banking at Barclays, said: “It’s been long-reported that this is a challenging industry, however our research shows that this has not deterred the next generation of ‘pub innovators’ from setting up shop. The UK’s pub businesses are a key part of Britain’s culture and heritage in addition to a valuable contributor to the economy.”

Decline or growth?

This growth is contrary to figures from the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), which indicate a decline in the total number of small and medium sized pubs in the UK in the last three years.

According to Barclay’s, 42 per cent of pub and bar businesses were founded in the last three years, and 26 per cent have been running for ten years or more.

BigHospitality previously reported that the UK pub market is set to outpace the casual restaurant sector​ in terms of growth this year, driven by the sector’s increasing shift towards all day dining.

Matt Hiscox, owner of The Carpenters Arms in Pontypool, said: “We’ve found by turning our business around to echo the demand of the public, turnover has doubled. Years previously, turnover would be approximately 75 per cent in drink sales, but today – and for the past four to five years – that same proportion has shifted to food sales.”

Diversifying industry

The research also found 56 per cent of pubs are now run by at least one female landlady and 27 per cent have a sole female owner.

Women also form a significant proportion of the young up-and-coming pub owners contributing to the industry boom, with 32 per cent of landlords under the age of 35 being female.

Growing confidence

The findings follow reports of confidence beginning to return to the UK wine sector, with champagne and sparkling wine bucking the trend of declining sales.

A recent report by Santa Maria Foodservice​ indicated that the over 65 market could prove crucial to the future growth of the pub market. The older generation, who are more likely to favour classic British dishes commonly found in pubs, reportedly have an untapped spending potential of £16bn.

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