So much more than just a pint…
05 November 2021
So much more than just a pint…
Pubs have been a part of my life since I can remember. From that bottle of coke and a packet of crisps in the beer garden as a child, to buying my first drink at the bar with my own money, the pub is the place to be for me.
The Great British pub is instantly recognisable, despite taking literally hundreds of different formats. There is something about walking through the door of a pub, finding a cosy corner or a spot at the bar to chat to friends, family or even strangers. You would never walk into a shop or even a restaurant and strike up a conversation with someone you’d never met before, but the pub effortlessly facilitates those connections.
It’s why they are such vital hubs of our communities, and why they are utterly irreplaceable. You can order food, clothes, and even beer to be delivered straight to your door these days, but there is nothing that measures up to the feeling of friendship and familiarity that you get walking into a pub – even if you’ve never been there before.
Pubs serve beer. Not just beer, obviously, but there is something about a cold, crisp pint of draught lager on a summer’s day or a frothy ale pulled straight from the pump that you take to the armchair by the roaring log fire, that simply cannot be replicated in your own home.
Beer is just a small part of their appeal however, and an even smaller part of what they represent to our communities across the UK. Local pubs, real ale pubs, village pubs, city centre bars, gastropubs, historic pubs. They all offer something different, but also exactly the same thing. That’s why I think we love them so much.
As human beings, we are desperate for connection; a feeling of belonging to a group, a tribe, a gang. But we also hate being labelled and pigeonholed – we want to be recognised as unique, individual, special.
Pubs make that possible.
The work that we do at the BII to support the fantastic people who run pubs is something that I am incredibly proud to be part of. Licensees, no matter what their style of pub, are the beating heart of the bricks and mortar buildings that house the essence of social connection, fun and companionship.
For most, it isn’t just a job, and it certainly doesn’t stop at serving drinks. They are counsellors, friends, social workers, and the centre of their pub families. The work they do is vital to so many of their customers, supporting them through the highs and lows of their lives, raising money for local and national charities that matter to their communities, and providing a safe space for a wide variety of people to connect.
All too often, the importance of pubs is overlooked – they are misunderstood by those who don’t see and understand the incredible value they provide, not only in terms of local employment and taxation that goes directly into Government coffers, but also in terms of the critical role they play in the mental health of so many lonely or otherwise isolated people.
Our Heart of the Community programme recognised over 130 licensees last year, and we know there are literally thousands more out there that we could have given the award to, but they all too often don’t see the work that they do as special or extraordinary – they just do what they do, without question.
Our mission is to inspire, develop and support our members, helping pubs thrive at the heart of every community across the UK, because we know just how much pubs matter.