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It’s not all coffee houses. Traditional pubs may be closing, but the rise and rise of craft brewing and distilling is coming up like the yeast on an open vat of unpasteurised real ale. Tastes are changing. Is your business changing too?
The evidence of a city centre Friday night may suggest otherwise, but apparently we are all drinking less. If the media, and the boarded up pubs are to be believed, the seemingly inexorable demise of the traditional British pub is only a matter of time.
However, we’re not all rushing to sign the pledge just yet. Far from it. While ‘spit and sawdust’ is most certainly out, micro-brewing and gastropubbing is most certainly in, and a new incarnation of the neighbourhood pub is on the rise.
Across the country, tastes are changing. Clever marketing may be driving that change, but clearly less of us appreciate a night of stale beer and stale crisps, and more of us are having a family outing for a meal and a drink. It’s all fresh from the kitchen, and even fresh from the in-house brewery - sometimes so fresh it’s still alive, as real ale enthusiasts will delight in telling you.
If the sobering thought of staying alive and moving with the times leaves you reaching for the drink - don’t despair. Getting refocused and making sure your business is ready to serve a changing market need not be a calamity. Keep an eye on your market and be ready to serve your customers what they want.
Springfords can give you some early pointers as to where your business and your customers are going, and let the numbers flag up any divergence on the journey. Keep on top of your accounting and those detailed financial reports can tell you plenty about what your customers prefer as time goes by.
Serving those changing tastes can be big business. Newspapers, including the Daily Express and the Scotsman, recently reported the boom in boutique brewing and distilling. New micro-breweries are springing up all the time, and some are even making it to the mainstream. Think Brew Dog for example.
There are even companies making a go of updating the time-honoured local bar. Not serving gourmet food, and not fitted out like the showroom at John Lewis; they revel in a modern, comfortable version of the neighbourhood pub, giving local people once again a place to call their local.
So business change can be an opportunity – your pint glass can indeed be half full!