Alex Booth (pictured right), commercial manager of The Pub Show, reflects on the show’s first full cycle with the Fresh Montgomery team at the helm.
How has the show evolved in the past five years?
The Pub Show was launched at the perfect time; the on-trade’s obstacles and issues were growing and needed solutions and PUB15 brought together an abundance of pioneering organisations and associations with the common goal of helping the great British pub prosper. The success of the launch created the foundation for future editions, and here we are five years down the line with a bigger show, but ultimately the same goal; to encourage more and more pubs to stay informed, stay profitable, and stay ahead.
What audience does the show serve?
At PUB19 we welcomed 4,555 publicans from independents and groups around the UK, in part because we know that if you have purchasing authority in your business the show will be nothing short of invaluable. It’s a once-a-year opportunity to speak with a whole host of suppliers and influential industry characters. Our talks and workshops are thoughtfully curated and free to attend, and the buzz through the halls tells you it’s everyone’s favourite industry networking event.
What makes the pub industry unique?
Like most people in the UK, I grew up in an area where the pub was the core of the community. There is so much appeal; the history, the atmosphere, the stories. Everyone on the PUB team really embraces working in this industry and we feel lucky to have the opportunity to help shape such a convivial industry that is seeping in tradition. We engineered a carefully selected advisory board early last year, and it’s clear from hearing the way they spoke to each other about their businesses, and the industry itself, it’s a special community to be a part of and I think everyone is proud of that.
Can you tell us about the PUB Trends Report?
Anyone in this industry will tell you that we are going through a rapid state of change, and keeping up with what the discerning customer wants can be daunting and easy to underestimate, but essentially, this is what drives profits.
The PUB Trends Report is our first ever consumer research piece, where we worked on in collaboration with Fever-Tree to determine what customers wanted from their pub experience. It’s a very interesting read because it doesn’t quite match up with media reports, it was a real hit at the event too as you can imagine; publicans were so appreciative of unbiased and vital data presented to them without feeling overwhelmed.
What was new for 2019?
Plenty! Thirsty Business was our dedicated drinks hall introduced as a result of demand from our publican audience for even more drinks content at the show. We also had The Trends Bar positioned within the Thirsty Business area – bringing together key consumer and commercial trends with the most forward-thinking solutions to present a view into the future of business success.
It’s a fun industry, so we introduced the Games Room as a brand new feature concept; combining entertainment and networking, visitors were able to indulge in modern and retro video games.
Most importantly, this was our first full cycle that the event was put together here at Fresh Montgomery. The success we had, records broken, and clear potential for future growth and development is undeniably down to the team who have put this all together.
What were some highlight from the show?
Every year The Pub Show gets bigger and better, and this year was no different. We welcomed over 4,500 visitors through the door – a record number for us!
This included industry celebrities: Tim Martin, the controversial character behind the Wetherspoons bar chain gave a talk and ITV’s The Dark Destroyer came down with pub quiz brand Weekly Quiz to go head-to-head with some of our publicans.
PUB20 returns to Olympia London in February 2020.