The pub industry is flourishing as the trade learns to exploit the flexibility of new licensing laws, according to key players and industry pundits.
"The Armageddon that was predicted in many quarters of the media has not happened and, in fact, there is evidence that the opposite is happening and that many towns centres are now much quieter, which is encouraging," said Mike Coughtrey, head of pubs and restaurants at KPMG.
"The change has opened the door to more flexibility, with pubs looking at how they can develop their customer base and business," said Mark Hastings of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA).
"In the medium term I think it will prove a major boost to the sector. The industry us flourishing. It is as popular as it has been for 20 years and is still, by and large, the favourite way for people to spend their leisure time."
Figures support claims the sector is thriving. According to the BBPA , the industry had a turnover in excess of £28.6b last year, while statistics from Datamonitor suggest more than 80% of adults visit the pub on average three times a month.
Enterprise Inns remains the dominant player in the UK market with 8,727 outlets, according to the British Hospitality Association, followed by Punch Taverns, with 8,157.
By Matthew Batham