24th September, 2014


Cumbria, UK


Rise of the Micropub Points to Growth in the Catering Industry


Britain is a nation in love with the concept of the Micropub. Thought of by many as a relatively recent phenomenon, the true origins of the micropub can in fact be traced back almost a decade, when publican Martyn Hillier launched the Butchers Arms in Herne, Kent in 2005.


Micropubs have begun to spring up across the UK. Conservative estimates suggest that there will be approximately one hundred businesses of the type up and running by the end of 2014, with premises catering for a variety of tastes. Although it may be early days, it seems the rise of the micropub has genuine potential to change the landscape of the industry from all aspects: A spokesperson for UK-based bar supplies and catering equipment provider G&M Supplies agreed yesterday: “we’ve been providing everything from glassware to commercial ovens across the pub, restaurant and cafe trades for over 28 years, so it’s safe to say we’ve seen these industries evolve, and evolved with them. It’s exciting to see increasing numbers of micropubs opening nationwide and interesting to note the changes in requirements they bring from an equipment suppliers perspective. A lot of the smaller businesses are purchasing smaller bottle coolers and catering equipment suitable for the size of the building they reside in, which are often considerably smaller than your average bar”.


From bespoke taverns in trendy London areas like Hoxton and Shoreditch to more muted affairs throughout provincial towns across the country, it seems that versatility is one of the main factors contributing towards the popularity of the micropub.


However, many micropub owners also cite economic factors in regard to their decision to launch such a business – particularly those who have in the past worked as stewards or landlords for larger pub chains and realised the benefits of running their own freehouse can often outweigh those of being tied to a PubCo.


Other publicans running micropubs and freehouses have made the switch in the quest for a quieter working life – the majority of micropubs are centred round an offer of a quiet pint of real ale, eschewing the typical lagers and drinks promotions found in large chain outlets. Bob Thornton, a business owner from Cumbria, agreed: “Generally the clientele we see through our doors are a more mature crowd – they’re discerning about their real ale, like good honest food and a place to combine both with some healthy discussion and debate.” With a wry laugh, Mr Thornton added “at any rate, our [micro] pub is perhaps too small for any trouble to kick off!”


The independence of such businesses is proving to be a hit with customers, too. “We’re not under any pressure from the chains or breweries to promote certain brands”, added Mr Thornton. “When it comes to the drinks we stock, whether draught or bottled, we simply listen to what our customers want”. Most micropubs do not even boast a bar, with patrons instead being waited upon by publicans. When asked about the future of the industry, Mr Thornton quipped “there will always be a demand for people to meet over a drink or a bite to eat and have a chat – it’s only natural that pubs will continue to exist, regardless of the format”.


As increasing numbers of larger public houses face closure, could the micropub be the saviour of the industry? Perhaps time will tell, but the figures certainly seem to suggest so.






Tel : 01946 693 555

Fax: 01946 691172


G&M Supplies Ltd

Catering Lodge

Boathouse Wood



CA26 3TE



Tel : 01946 693 555

Fax: 01946 691172




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