British pubs 'vital to tourism and economy'
The British pub is the central theme of a new campaign to drive more tourism in rural areas and highlight the importance of the beer supply chain to the UK economy.
The Grain to Glass initiative by the British Beer & Pub Association and the National Farmers Union wants to show how the traditional public house provides a 'shop window' to Britain.
Their report found that about 270,000 rural jobs in Britain depend on brewing and pubs, with over £3.5 billion paid in rural wages.
But a combination of high taxes, red tape and falling beer consumption is hampering the industry, the organisations say.
The initiative calls on the government to do more to help barley farmers, hop growers, maltsters, brewers and publicans.
Visit England and VisitBritain welcomed the new campaign.
"Pubs are crucial to the tourism offer in rural areas," said Jamie Berresford, chief executive, Visit England.
"As well as being attractions in their own right, they can provide essential local services and support local food and drink, enhancing the visitor experience."
Sandie Dawe, VisitBritain chief executive, said: "Pubs are a shop window to Britain reflecting their urban or rural setting, they provide a welcome, beer, food and the chance to interact with local people."
Policies being put forward in the Grain to Glass initiative include:
• Pubs: Support for pubs as a vital part of tourism infrastructure and a review of the impact of red tape.
• Brewing: a review of the structure and impact of beer duty on employment and growth in the rural economy
• Farming: More investment in crop research and development
• Planning: Planners and local authorities to recognise the importance of the pub as the hub of rural communities and to reflect it in their policies.
Mystery Dining Direct News