By Gillian McKenzie
PUB closures have been a hot topic for the mainstream media for some time now.
Everything from the smoking ban to cheaper alcohol prices in supermarkets, the onset of the economic downturn and the challenges in securing funding have been used as a hook to paint yet another gloomy picture. An article in the BBC News magazine just last week focused on the “perilous decline” of pubs in some parts of the UK.
Granted, these kind of reports are not without foundation.
Trading conditions have been – and remain – tough, and there have been businesses that have fallen victim to these challenges.
But it’s by no means as bleak as is often portrayed.
Countless operators are continuing to trade well, having found new and innovative ways to differentiate their businesses and drive footfall; and many are expanding.
Graham Suttle, Michael McGuigan and Graham Blaikie are just some of the operators who have added to their estates in recent weeks.
And it’s not just city centre outlets which are thriving. The raft of entries to this year’s SLTN Awards includes a huge number of rural and community pubs that are continuing to go from strength to strength.
As the team at SLTN travels around the country on awards visits, it’s clear just how enthusiastic, resilient and versatile the Scottish trade is.