From Hydes Brewery in Manchester comes an interesting couple of assessments of the pub game. Managing director Chris Hopkins said the use of Twitter and Facebook to publicise special events and promotional offers had helped increase footfall, along with more emphasis on guest beers, live entertainment and soccer match screenings.
Like me you may think this a "no brainer" in the digital age, but it is truly amazing that many pubs have no website, no twitter account and probably no Facebook either. Even I, as an old codger, look for such things to know what is going on, what is on sale, or simply what the opening times are. Clearly if you have special events as suggested by Mr Hopkins, you are going to do better to let the world know about it, than rely on a dodgy hand written piece of A4 stuck in a window of the pub, or tucked where no-one can read it in a corner. For the younger generations of potential pub goers, I can imagine that this kind of social media update isn't just handy, but essential. A destination changer even.
Mind you, you do have to actually use it. I remember with a red mist still hovering over me, traipsing across London to a pub I'd wanted to visit, only to find it was to be closed for renovation the next day. They had a website, but gallingly, there was no mention of the rather salient fact that it was going to be closed for a couple of weeks and therefore there was no beer to speak of, as stocks were being run down. Stupid, or maybe thoughtless.
Another interesting point made by Mr Hopkins was that Hydes pubs are the most profitable area of the business and have been for "many years". That may explain a little why they are currently downsizing their brewing business, by moving to a much smaller, more flexible brewery, allowing them to concentrate more on servicing their 66 pubs, rather than aimlessly brewing the failed Boddingtons brand.
So, two points to take from this. One is that pubs should get on the web, open these accounts and keep them up to date. Hydes tell you it makes a difference for them. The other interesting point is that pubs can be profitable businesses, providing I assume you haven't saddled them with mountains of debt.
Unfortunately, for many, no amount of social media will remove or reduce that debt to a point of making a realistic living for owner and tenant, but either way, social media involvement is a must.
Hydes is a Family Brewer in Manchester founded in 1863.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, CAMRA Chairman and (local) activist, beer author, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010 and 2011. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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