Highland Pubs buck UK-wide closure trend

January 8th, 2019 | Posted in: Bar News,News

Here’s a reason for licensees to be cheerful in what might be an otherwise challenging month, well those in the far north of Scotland at any rate, because pubs in the Highlands appear to be bucking a UK-wide pub and bar closure trend.

Analysis by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports that despite a quarter of all pubs shutting in the UK, there are 14% more pubs in the Highlands than there were 10 years ago.

The ONS says that more than 11,000 pubs have closed in the UK in the last decade – a fall of 23%. Yet tourism, the Highland region’s most important industry supporting 25,000 jobs, was boosted by 6.5 million visitors to the area last year.

Owner of Inverness-shire’s Applecross Inn, Judith Fish, has just been decorated with an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours list 2019. She puts the Highlands outperforming the rest of the UK down to a ‘drastic’ rise in quality and standards. She told DRAM, “I’ll be celebrating 30 years at The Applecross Inn on the 14th of January and in that time things have improved drastically, both in my own business and other businesses too, so I’m not surprised pubs in the Highlands are faring so well. I moved up from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, coming from a business where I was used to couples who came out for dinner once or twice per week. But in Applecross, people had a pan of soup on the stove at home so it was our job to encourage them out with a quality food and drink offering.”

She continued, “Frankly the food that was on offer in the Highlands was often atrocious, but that’s no longer the case now provenance is king. Scotland has the best fresh produce in the UK and that’s its strength. In terms of what we’re doing, and now that we have our own brewery, customers know where their beer’s come from compared to the days the dray cart pulled up with what could’ve been ‘any old’ beer. In a wider sense, similar types of entrepreneurship are in evidence all over the Highland region, although there’s still room for improvement.”

Martin Donnelly is co-owner of The Craigdarroch Inn on the banks of Loch Ness (pictured). He puts the stats down to tourism and beefed-up investment in the area. Speaking to DRAM, he said, “New investment and tourism and the opening of a new campsite near to us encouraged us to add a bar onto the hotel five years ago because the nearest one at the time was over four miles away and we haven’t looked back since.”

He continued, “Destination Loch Ness has now grown to become VisitInvernessLochNess, the Tourism Business Improvement District (BID) for Inverness and Loch Ness, after an injection of funding from the government. There are also been more events in the region, like the Beast Race, the Etape Loch Ness Bike Race and Loch Ness marathon. I’ve also noticed more tearooms and cafes being renovated as well as more businesses opening in the area in general.”

East Dunbartonshire also experienced growth, with an increase of 20% or more in pubs.

East Renfewshire and East Ayrshire saw the largest decline in pub numbers. Both areas have 40% fewer pubs than 10 years ago.

Other areas of Scotland have also seen declines, including Moray, Angus, Fife and the Scottish Borders where there the numbers have fallen by 20% or more.


Mitchells & Butlers’ shares surge on higher sales

Thu 23rd May 2019

Shares in Mitchells & Butlers have jumped more than 9% after the company reported higher comparable sales and profit for the first-half ... Read more.

The Macallan Distillery picks up another major industry award

Thu 23rd May 2019

The Macallan Distillery has received a recognition from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Scotland. ... Read more.

Wagamama acquisition helps surge in sales at the start of 2019 for owners The Restaurant Group

Thu 23rd May 2019

The Restaurant Group, which owns Frankie & Benny's and Chiquito, has reported a surge in sales at the start of 2019, helped by its acquisit... Read more.

Hello Bo & Birdy

Wed 22nd May 2019

Bo & Birdy. That’s the name of The Blythswood Hotel’s new £1m 146-cover bar and restaurant that re-opens this month after being closed... Read more.

Single-Use Cutlery and Straws made from the humble avocado stone are a reality

Wed 22nd May 2019

As the UK government announces new controls on plastic items to come into force in England by April 2020, with Scotland also taking steps to... Read more.

Trade body calls for action to tackle mental health issues

Wed 22nd May 2019

Fresh on the back of UK mental health awareness week ( 13-19 May 2019), more needs to be done to tackle mental health issues in the sector, ... Read more.

Borthwick Castle’s head chef to champion Scotland in National Chef of the Year

Tue 21st May 2019

Derek Johnstone, Head Chef at Borthwick Castle in Midlothian, is the only Scottish chef to have reached the semi-finals of this year's Natio... Read more.

DOUNE CASTLE IN STIRLING RENAMED TO CELEBRATE LEGACY OF GAME OF THRONES

Tue 21st May 2019

Pubs in Stirlingshire may get a boost from an influx of Game of Thrones fans making pilgrimages to the area.... Read more.

Plans submitted to re-open Glasgow’s Cabin restaurant

Tue 21st May 2019

Plans have been submitted with Glasgow City Council to re-open the Cabin restaurant on Dumbarton Road in the Whiteinch area of the city. It ... Read more.

Bloc+ pops up on former Nonya site

Mon 20th May 2019

Bloc pop-ups on former Nonya site John Burns, owner of Bloc+ on Bath Street in Glasgow has opened a Bloc pop-up on the site of the former N... Read more.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon officially opens new McQueen Gin distillery

Mon 20th May 2019

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has officially opened McQueen Gin's brand-new 6,200²ft distillery in Callander. ... Read more.

WINE AND TEA BAR OPENS

Mon 20th May 2019

The Chaumer is a recently opened teahouse and wine bar for Edinburgh’s Queen Street – with a very interesting back story. ... Read more.

New owners at Braeval Hotel

Thu 16th May 2019

Paul and Lyndy Geddes have taken over the Braeval Hotel and Bandstand Bar and Restaurant in Nairn. Lyndy was previously a director in an omb... Read more.

Max McFarlane joins the Ardgowan Distillery team

Thu 16th May 2019

Whisky maker Max McFarlane has joined the Ardgowan Distillery team – with a plan to create and release a new series of whiskies later thi... Read more.

McEwan’s Lager relaunches

Wed 15th May 2019

The new look McEwan’s Lager launches in on-trade this month.... Read more.

Today’s your last chance to enter the Glenfarclas Highland Single Malt 105’ Cask Strength Cocktail Competition!

Wed 15th May 2019

Today’s the cut-off for entering the Glenfarclas Highland Single Malt ‘105’ Cask Strength Cocktail Competition – so get your... Read more.

Brand News: Avva Scottish Gin

Wed 15th May 2019

CASK FINISH GIN FROM AVVA SCOTTISH GIN AVAILABLE TO TRADE CUSTOMERS FOR THE FIRST TIME The latest release of Cask Finish Gin from the brand ... Read more.

Brand News: Loch Lomond Whiskies

Wed 15th May 2019

Loch Lomond Whiskies’ Loch Lomond 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky has triumphed at the Bartenders’ Brand Awards, including the to... Read more.

Mixologists causing a stir

Tue 14th May 2019

Today we profile DANIEL ELPHINSTONE of Orchid in Aberdeen and DAVID GODDARD of Bar One, Inverness.... Read more.

Mixologists causing a stir

Mon 13th May 2019

Today it's the turn of DIMI SAVVAIDIS The King of Islington Dundee and DANNY MCMANUS Kelvingrove Cafe Glasgow .... Read more.