Major new research by EIPP has reinforced the ongoing importance of pubs to consumers and their value to local communities.
The in-depth study has been released ahead of the inaugural National Pub Fortnight – an exciting two-week celebration of the Great British pub between 22 July and 6 August.
The initiative, designed to highlight and encourage consumer interest in Great British pubs, will give away 15,000 free pints across the UK. Pubs taking part in National Pub Fortnight will be further supported with engaging point-of sale materials, including banners, window vinyls, entertainment ideas and digital assets, to help create a buzz among existing customers, as well as driving additional footfall.
Key findings from the research show that more than half of all pub-goers champion their local pub as the place for food and drink with one in five visiting between once and three times a week. The pub's role as a vital community hub is secure with 18.2 million rating their local pub as a 'great place to socialise and meet people'. What's more, 12 million people say their local pub is an important aspect of community life.*
The study highlights pubs as the venue of choice to play host to many memorable life events, from birthday celebrations, christenings, funerals and weddings, to hearing out about a new job or promotion and celebrating graduation. Top of the list is birthdays, but 10.4 million pub-goers have started a new relationship in a pub, 4.1 million have broken up with a partner and 2.6 million have been proposed to.
The study also throws up some interesting generational differences; with one third (35%) of 16-24-years-olds saying they would include pubs on their 'must-visit' list when on holiday or a short break, compared to one in five people aged 55 or over.
The research also points to the growing importance of events and entertainment to a pub's offer. A large number of pub-goers say they are willing to experience new activities such as art classes, open mic nights, fundraising events and quizzes.
Survey findings include:
More than a quarter (28%) know the name of their landlord/landlady at their local pub
18% visit their pub to watch TV sport
While almost one third of pub-goers prefer to stay local when choosing a pub, one in 10 would travel up to 20 miles to visit a 'celebrated' pub
Top three on-screen pubs that pub-goers would like to drink in are: Queen Vic (EastEnders), Hog's Head (Harry Potter) and Rovers Return Inn (Coronation Street).
EIPP pub the Milford Arms in Isleworth, west London, is one of hundreds of pubs across the UK taking part in National Pub Fortnight. The pub has a full programme of activity planned to maximise the opportunity the campaign offers.
Publican Natalie Coleshill said: "National Pub Fortnight is a brilliant campaign and we're delighted to be part of a national initiative that aims to highlight everything that is great about pubs. These days, they are about so much more than just food and drink. We pride ourselves on being a genuine community pub that appeals to all types of people across different occasions so any initiative that supports that is welcome.
"We've got lots of exciting events taking place over the next fortnight which should create a real community buzz and I'm looking forward to seeing a packed pub."
Steve de Polo, Retail Concept Director at Ei Group plc, added: "This significant research shines a light on the continuing value of local pubs to communities across the UK and the important role they play in our lives. It also demonstrates the appetite of pub-goers to participate in new activities and experiences in their local pub.
"Our purpose is to work in partnership with our publicans to help them grow profitability, as well as supporting pubs as sustainable community assets. To achieve this, we are innovating through a number of new support tools and initiatives that will help our publicans build their businesses.
"As the leading pub company in the UK, we are truly passionate about pubs and look forward to hearing how publicans up and down the country benefit from National Pub Fortnight."
A National Pub Fortnight web based app for smart phones and tablets has been developed to support the campaign, through which the first 15,000 consumers will have access to an e-voucher to claim their free pint in partnership with Heineken, alongside a list of up to 1,000 participating pubs where it can be redeemed. Visit www.freedrinkoffer.co.uk
The research was carried out online by Opinion Matters in June amongst a panel of 2,008 UK adult respondents.