A Pub’s not for just for Christmas

It’s December and the office party season is in full swing, the media would have us believe that the pubs are packed and everyone is having a great old time. Nowadays however with changes to behaviour and lifestyle December is sandwiched between Sober October and DryJanuary meaning many people only visit the pubs at this time of year. The quick blast of trade over the festive fortnight for many pubs will fail to cover the issues brought on by the abstinence of January.

There did appear to be some good news this week for the pub trade as it was announced that for the first time in 10 years there had been growth in numbers which was then followed by much debate as to what is a pub as the growth appears to be in micro-pubs, brewery taps and bottle shop bars rather than what is traditionally known as a boozer. However is this just a short-term blip? Hope not as we need our pubs to flourish rather than struggle to survive.

So why is a pub not just for Christmas? What does it have to offer all year round as opposed to somewhere to get drunk on an office party? Why should we forget about eating our M&S meal deal or Deliveroo whilst drinking wine and watching Strictly Come Dancing to come to the pub?

Well to do this and show why pubs should be used all year round let’s look at the top 10 New Years Resolutions and how these can be accomplished with the help of the pub rather than as @beerdoodles succinctly puts in the Pub for November, December & January artwork with pubs in January being empty.

  1. Exercise More – Walking, running & cycling are great forms of exercise and should be encouraged. There is nothing better than being outdoors, getting fresh air and generally being more active. This is far better than going to the Gym or being shouted at by a computer exercise bike in your bedroom. The best bit of outdoors exercise is you can reward yourself with a rest, refuel and warm-up in the pub. This doesn’t mean alcohol if you don’t want to because most good pubs will provide you with hot drinks, a nice warm environment and where possible some good fuelling grub.
  2.  Lose Weight – Most pubs have great food menus that offer lighter or smaller plates, most drinks in a pub are lower in sugar and fat that anything available in coffee shops and pubs will control your portions for you.
  3.  Eat / Drink Healthily – Most pubs nowadays will offer alternatives, its not all pie and chips. The vast majority of pubs will have vegan / vegetarian or gluten free options for both food & drink – (we always have a vegan and gluten free drinks option and in some pubs a permanent gluten free and/or vegan cask beer line). Also many independent pubs use fresh local produce and make the food themselves with minimal processed food.
  4.  Learn a new skill or hobby – Pubs host a variety of events such as book clubs, open mic, quiz nights, poker and tasting events amongst other things, we even have Laurel & Hardy society meetings and poetry clubs in some of our pubs. Go see what’s on in your local pub, it may just surprise you or give you a new interest or hobby.
  5.  Improve Mental Health – Nothing improves mental health more than talking to people, it’s a proven fact. There is nowhere better than the pub to meet, socialise and talk with people at the pace you want. Where else offers you a relaxed environment where you can choose to interact and talk with people about just about any subject or you can choose to just be happy on your own with a book or a paper?
  6.  Spend more time with family & friends – Pubs are ideal for this, they are a great meeting point that offer comfortable & relaxed surroundings and have done for centuries.
  7.  Drink Less Alcohol – Now you’d expect this to be difficult for pubs to swing this. However it’s nearly 2020 and pubs have upped their game here. We (and most other pubs) now stock non or low alcohol options for beer, lager & cider, there is a zero alcohol gin or two, high quality coffee and its not just pop on tap – mixers and juices have improved massively. Its not all beer, wines, spirits & pop at the pub nowadays there is plenty for those not drinking alcohol whilst getting all the benefits of the pub.
  8.  Stop Smoking – You can’t smoke in the pub, obvious. So the longer you are in the pub, the less you are smoking.
  9.  Be More Charitable – When the great charities are asking you to not drink to raise them money just stop to think how much pubs raise for charity. Pubs on average raise over £100m a year for great causes, this is on average £2500 per pub in the UK. So if you want to be more charitable you will do that down the pub. Ourselves during 2019 will have raised well over £15000 for our local causes – so thank you to each & everyone of you who has helped this across our pubs.
  10.  Save money – The pub is cheaper than you think. A night at the pub costs less than – the average gym membership, an average sky TV package, average mobile phone bill or the average takeaway. It is definitely less than going to premiership  /championship football, the theatre or a restaurant. In fact it is probably the best value night out there is.

So there you have it. Don’t think the pub is just for Christmas because it definitely isn’t. Protect your local, use it or lose it because if you only go on Christmas Day, Mad Friday or at the works outing then don’t be surprised if it isn’t there next year. Pubs need you, local independent pubs need you, the work they do, the money they raise, the jobs they provide are all staying local. Small independent pubs aren’t giving dividends to shareholders they are providing local jobs and finance for its own community, they are paying tax & rates and providing a social community hub. So please this New Year – make an 11th resolution – to visit you local independent pub more than once a year. Cheers and we’ll see you all in January.