For the first time in a decade the number of pubs and bars in the UK increased in 2019, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics.
Research conducted by digital marketing company Stampede showed a net gain of 320 pubs in 2019 to 39,145. The increase comes after eight years that saw the UK record a net loss of 5,855 pubs – an average of 732 a year.
Large pub groups are driving growth in the sector with 205 openings coming from businesses with turnover of £500,000 to £1m, and 123 coming from those with revenue of £1m to £2m a year.
There is no evidence to suggest an increase in drink sales is behind the swing – Marston’s reported a beer sales drop of 2.1 billion pints between 2007 and 2019 – but premiumisation and diversification by operators may have contributed.
Patrick Clover, Stampede founder and CEO, said: “The reduction of pubs over the last decade has been heart-breaking, following devastating changes to business taxes and alcohol duties, but I hope these figures signpost a reversal of fortunes.”
“Indeed, we saw our local district of Edinburgh increase the number of pubs significantly this year, and I like to think we played our part in that. Stampede’s aim is to become indispensable to every pub, bar, hotel and restaurant owner in the UK. We want to bring the heart back into these beloved venues that are at the centre of our communities.”