Britain's Pubs Should Welcome Diversity If They Want To Get More Customers, Expert Says
Britain's pubs need to be more diverse if they are to avoid closure, a top beer writer has warned.
Melissa Cole believes that by introducing a number of simple ideas, such as gender-neutral toilets and ditching drink packaging that uses outdated 'sexy' images, pubs can become more inclusive and see more punters through the doors.
She says pubs need to be doing more to get rid of gender, class and age discrimination and she's not alone - a number of leading industry figures are in agreement that boozers should do more to welcome diversity - that's why they've come up with the 'Everyone Welcome' manifesto.
The manifesto aims to completely eradicate discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, race, healthy, religion or belief, social class, age or disability, which sounds like a pretty big step in the right direction, doesn't it?
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Melissa, who has won awards for her work, said: "If you're not willing to adapt to your community changing then it's a bad business move.
"If you don't appeal to them, then of course you're going to lose customers.
"If you can't understand how to adapt to new demographics or to the changing pace of society, then you're not a very good business person."
Alongside Melissa are leading beer industry figures, including John Keeling (brewing director of Fuller's), Jaega Wise (head brewer at Wild Card Brewery), Steph Shuttleworth (beer specialist), Colin Johnston (Crisp Malt sales manager), Alexandra Sewell (BottleShop employee), Julie O'Grady (Founder of Ladies That Beer ) and Sanj Devaraj (head of operations at James Clay) - who are all backing the call for pubs to be more inclusive.
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"Whilst a lot of this is covered under the Equality Act 2010, none of us can say they don't happen," Melissa added.
"This initiative is designed to do is give businesses the opportunity to nail their colours to the mast about the kind of venue or event they are running and to shout proudly that hate isn't to be tolerated and ignorance is not an excuse.
"We also can't deny that there is a diversity problem in the beer world and by having simple statements like this up at an event or in a venue, people from all walks of life can be confident of a warm welcome.
"'This isn't PC gone mad, virtue signalling or anything else that people are bound to throw at this project.
"All the Everyone Welcome Initiative hopes to be is an aid to the growth of diversity in the beer world and, hopefully in time, the wider hospitality trade and drinks industry too."
Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said she welcomed the manifesto.
She said: "It is important that pubs are as welcoming as possible and so we welcome the launch of the Everyone Welcome initiative.
"It will build on work the industry has already done to combat discrimination through our disability guidance, 'An Open Welcome', and the support we give to campaigns like 'Ask for Angela' to ensure that everyone has a safe night out.
"We also need to ensure that all pubs also comply with the law."
Featured Image Credit: Triangle News/PA