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The pub. A social hub of activity that has been a part of British culture for decades.

Over the years, the pub has no doubt seen plenty of change as they have had to adapt and adjust in response to the latest customer trends and industry changes. Craft beer, high-quality food and a smoking ban are just some of the introductions that have swept across pubs throughout the country.

Pubs that find innovative ways to remain attractive to consumer continue to succeed in an industry that sees 18 pubs close every week. It’s a constant battle but for a pub to move forward, it needs to progress and move with the times.

The latest change the pub is seeing is a rise in the number of non-drinkers. Should pub owners be tapping into this market?

The rise of teetotallers

The number of non-drinkers in the UK has seen a stark rise in the past few years. A study by University College London found that the number of 16 to 24-year-olds who don’t drink alcohol has risen from 18 per cent in 2005 to 29 per cent in 2015.

The main driver behind it is health benefits and cultural factors. Researchers on the study found that teetotalism was becoming ever more common amongst the younger generations, whilst drunkenness was deemed less acceptable. 

Attracting non-drinkers to pubs

Generation Z includes those born after 1995. 78% of those in this generation surveyed believe that pubs need to make themselves more inviting to customers who don’t drink alcohol. This is according to a Nitro-Generation report from Nescafé Azera.

And there is more to embracing non-drinkers than simply offering them a pint of Coca Cola. By providing something different to this market, you immediately identify as a pub who appeals to non-drinkers. This could be anything from offering alcohol-free beer, coffees, specialist soft drinks and mocktails.

Give your pub a refresh

As well as giving your menu and offerings a refresh to attract non-drinkers, a third of those questioned in the survey also felt that pubs are becoming outdated. Another way to appeal to younger and older generations alike is to update your pub’s interior. Be honest, how long has it been since you’ve had an update?

Trent Furniture has a range of pub furniture that is ideal for bringing your pub up to date. 

Perhaps you’ve recently updated your pub furniture and are looking for the best ways to keep it maintained, or maybe you’re intent on scrubbing up the tables and chairs that you already own, making them good as new.

At Trent Furniture we often get asked for tips about how to maintain furniture, but none more so than the pub industry. Pub furniture certainly has a lot to go through so it’s only expected that furniture will succumb to the odd bit of wear and tear.

But there are some ways for you to extend the life span of your pub furniture, meaning you don’t have to go through the process of buying new tables and chairs as often.

In this post, we look into tips for keeping your pub furniture looking brand new:

Buying robust furniture

First things first, your pub furniture should be robust enough to deal with the high amount of use in the pub environment. There’s simply no use trying to maintain a chair that isn’t made to a high enough standard - you’re just fighting a losing battle.

At Trent Furniture, are our furniture ranges are tested rigorously by FIRA, which gives our customers peace of mind that they are suitable for a contract environment.

Tips for moving around your furniture

This little trick involves regularly moving the furniture around your pub. You might not know it but there are certain areas within your pub that get more use than others.

As such, it’s advised to maneuver your tables and chairs around the pub periodically to ensure that the wear and tear is distributed evenly. Being aware of which areas of your pub get the most traffic will slow down the total wear and tear of your furniture.

Monthly checks on your furniture

Make sure you schedule a monthly check of your furniture in your calendar. By doing this you can keep on top of any damage before it gets worse. Taking the time to inspect your furniture can make the world of difference in extending the lifespan of your pub furniture.

Keep an eye out for wobbly tables and chairs, loose screws, ripped upholstery, and marks and chips.

Tips for maintaining leather furniture

One of the major benefits of leather is that it’s really easy to clean. All you need is a damp cloth and a soft cloth to dry. Don’t soak the chair/sofa, though. Doing so, along with the use of detergents, waxes, and creams, can damage the leather. For more permanent stains, use a specialist leather cleaner.

Tips for maintaining wooden furniture

For everyday cleaning, you can use Relay Spray. Relay provides an all-purpose disinfectant suitable for all service areas which unlike some cleaners has no unpleasant smell and is specially formulated to be kind to polished wooden surfaces – perfect for use in between service.

Tips for maintaining upholstered fabrics

Most stains and spillages on upholstered fabric can be easily treated using a damp cloth. However, it’s important to do so as soon as possible so that the spillage doesn’t settle in the fabric. There are certain materials will need specialist cleaning products. Before using products, give it a test on a non-visible area to ensure it doesn’t damage the fabric even more!

To reduce the likelihood of the upholstered fabric fading, place upholstered furniture away from direct sunlight and radiators.

Pub furniture maintenance tips

We are proud to always to offer the very highest quality pub furniture at the best value for money. Over the years that we have been supplying pub furniture, we have been able to create a range of furniture which does both things.

Browse our full range of pub furniture including tables, chairs, stools and more here.

We’re just about half way through the year and we are pleased to have already played a part in refurbishing a host of existing establishments as well as some completely new ones.

So far we’ve furnished restaurants, bars, cafés, pubs, clubs and some more obscure venues.

Although we are proud of our part in all of them, here are some of our particular favourites from 2019:

Arty’s

Boasting picturesque views across Portsmouth Harbour from its Royal Clarence Marina location, Arty’s is a popular choice of restaurant.

The restaurant already had a unique, quirky interior but this year, Arty’s recently underwent a refurbishment that included a new colour scheme, artwork and additional pieces of furniture.

The Farmhouse table was selected as the perfect table to match with the restaurant’s eclectic theme. With a white under frame and legs combined with a walnut finish solid wood top, the table is a popular choice for quirky bistros and fashionable eateries.

Take a look at the makeover.

Alzheimer Scotland

Alzheimer Scotland, the leading dementia organisation in Scotland, launched a new project in 2019 that uses the social elements associated with a trip to the pub to help people living with dementia, their friends and family socialise in a comfortable environment.

‘Beer with Buddies’ is a new traditional style pub onsite at Alzheimer Scotland’s Paisley day centre that acts as a deterrent for social isolation.

We were pleased to play a small part in the launch of this worthwhile project by supplying the furniture.

Read more about the project and take a look at the interior.

Roe Green CC

This village cricket club found in the suburbs of Manchester decided to enlarge and refurbish the bar and clubhouse in a bid to encourage punters of Roe Green to use their facilities instead of local pubs.

The cricket club decided upon our Bar Furniture Package that includes three square shaker poseur tables and 12 tall squareback stools were the best choice for their needs.

We think that the new furniture looks great in the cricket club and matches seamlessly with the chairs and sofas already in place.

Take a look at the refurbishment project.

Contract furniture supplier

If you like the look of these interiors, and think it’s about time you gave yours a refresh, take a look at our range of commercial furniture.

At Trent, we know that furniture plays a huge part in the popularity of your pub, and creating an inviting space for guests to relax in can work in your favour.  If you’re starting from scratch or planning a complete overhaul, we’re here to help you choose the best furniture that reflects the style of your pub.

Cast Iron

Instantly adding a sense of heritage to your pub, cast iron furniture is hard-wearing as well as visually appealing with its Victorian charm. If your pub has an old, rugged charm about it, why not take advantage of its appeal and decorate with furniture to match.  We offer a wide choice of traditional decorative cast iron furniture pieces, many of which are based on classic designs from the Victorian era. Our Single Lionhead Poseur Table is a popular choice and customisable with its range of table tops. Choose from solid hardwood or veneer table tops in light oak, dark oak or walnut as well as laminate and melamine tops, a poseur table become a stylish place to rest freshly poured drinks on.

Paired with a brown leather chair in a cosy, fire-side pub corner, a cast iron table can make for a traditional feel. But what about your outdoor space? At Trent, we use quality iron and a powder coating process during production, ensuring that our furniture withstands weathering. Cast iron tables have heavy bases offering strength and stability in windy conditions, making it easier to decorate with a consistent style indoors as well as outdoors.  

Wooden Furniture

Offering bags of rustic charm, decorating with wooden furniture can give your pub the desirable homely feel it deserves. From a creamy, country kitchen look to a chic, dark wood and modern twist, the possibilities to create a unique style to your pub are endless.

For example, our rectangular farmhouse table is the perfect choice to accommodate large groups of people, and when paired with the matching farmhouse range, will create a traditional feel. Available in dark and light oak colours, the standout turned leg feature, gives this table an attractive appearance that complements a country or modern decorative style.

As furniture experts and pub-goers ourselves, we know that a pub table needs to be strong and durable, and as such we use the very best oak and walnut hardwoods. To help protect the tops against the inevitable food and drink spills, we apply veneers and finishes to ensure our tables are stain resistant and less prone to damage from heat.

We have over 60 years’ experience in supplying contract furniture from our Leicestershire headquarters to catering industries up and down the country. To full our full range of pub furniture, follow the link to our product page. Online or over the phone, we’re here to help you find the right product at the right price. Get in contact with us on 0116 2989 838 or email your enquiry to sales@pubfurnitureuk.co.uk.

It’s the most popular spirit in the UK, having recently overtaken whisky and vodka in a survey of our favourite drinks. It has a long, fascinating and chequered history as a drink that has led to riots and ruin, as well as helping to ward off disease and sickness. And its recent resurgence has come about thanks to the growth of hundreds of “craft” gins and small distilleries that are satisfying our thirst for authentic alternatives to the big global brands. Gin is back.

Gin has a long and colourful heritage. Like many spirits, it began life as a medicinal beverage. It’s not known where it was first distilled, but it’s likely that it came out of a medieval monastery, where juniper berries, valued for their medicinal properties, were used to flavour the harsh raw spirit to make a drink known as genever (the Dutch for juniper). Genever (also known as jenever) was taken up in a big way in the Low Countries, and indeed is still drunk there today. It’s thought that it was drunk by English soldiers during the Anglo-Dutch Wars in the 17th century to give them “Dutch courage”. English speakers shortened “genever” to “gen”, which eventually became gin.

A pint of ruin

When William and Mary took over the English throne in 1689, William put a tax on imports of French brandy and encouraged the distillation of gin, his own preferred drink (being Dutch). This unleashed a period of social upheaval that culminated in the “gin craze” of the first half of the 18th century, when hundreds of distilleries sprang up, many based in ordinary houses. There was a time when a pint of gin was cheaper than a pint of beer. The results were ruinous. Crime and ill-health soared as an increasingly ungovernable population soused itself in cheap gin. Little wonder that gin gained the nickname of “kill me quick”. Often it was flavoured with turpentine.

One response to this crisis was Hogarth’s famous engraving, Gin Lane, in which the disastrous impact of gin-drinking on that street’s ravaged inhabitants is contrasted with the healthy and morally upright citizens of Beer Street. Eventually, governments raised taxes on gin. At the same time, the price of grain was rising. These factors put an end to the gin craze by the middle of the 18th century.

Bitter experience

Elsewhere in the world, gin was actually responsible for bringing about improvements in health. As the British Empire expanded into tropical countries where malaria was rife, quinine - extracted from the bark of a tree - was used as a treatment. Quinine has a bitter taste, so it was mixed with gin to make it more palatable. The gin and tonic was born - a quintessentially English drink, made from a spirit with Dutch origins, mixed with the extract of a tropical tree. Today’s tonic waters still contain a small amount of quinine.

Meanwhile, for seasick voyagers and mariners, gin was mixed with aromatic bitters, such as Angostura, to settle their stomachs. The pink gin was born.

Wherever the British Empire spread to, gin went with it too, and one beneficiary was the Plymouth distillery, Coates, which began distilling gin in 1793. Being located in a major naval centre meant that Coates became one of the best-known gin brands across the Empire: at one point, it was supplying the Royal Navy with 1,000 barrels of gin a year. In 2004 it was renamed Plymouth Gin, and is now the oldest British gin distillery still operating in its original location.

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, improvements in distilling techniques were helping to create smoother, more refined gins that became popular with the middle and upper classes. London dry gin mixed with tonic became a thoroughly respectable drink, and the rehabilitation of gin seemed complete.

Still crazy

However, gin was to experience another blow to its prestige - this time across the Atlantic, where prohibition in America led to the emergence of thousands of illicit stills, making gins (and other sprits) that were of very poor quality. These became known as “bathtub gins”, although they were not actually made in bathtubs - the name came about probably because the bottles were too tall to be topped off with water in a sink, so this had to be done via bath taps. (In tribute to this era, there is now a brand of gin called Bathtub Gin, made by Ableforth’s in the West Midlands.) Once again, gin became associated with crime and social breakdown.

Another negative association came in George Orwell’s novel 1984, in which the populace is subdued with endless cups of cheap and nasty “Victory Gin”, as in this passage: “As always, the gin made him shudder and even retch slightly. The stuff was horrible.”

But gin today iis a drink that genuinely transcends social boundaries. Though the gin and tonic has snooty associations, it has also enjoyed enduring popularity among working-class drinkers. The rock band Oasis, at the height of “lad” culture, referenced “gin and tonic” in their hit song, “Supersonic”.

Sloes and seaweed

And then, around a decade ago, something remarkable happened: a sudden flowering of new gin brands. As with the era of the “gin craze”, a change in regulations has helped this huge growth of “boutique” distilleries. To begin with, when the gin distillers Sipsmith wanted to distill gin in small quantities, HMRC said this would technically be classed as “moonshine” and banned it. Fierce lobbying led to a change in the rules, making it possible for micro-distilleries to flourish.

These new “craft” gins come in all manner of styles and flavours, among them seaweed and nettles, as well as the more traditional botanicals, and sloe gin and damson gin. Inevitably, the big distillers are trying to get in on the act, but the real growth is in the smaller companies (Sipsmith has now been taken over by the global drinks giant Beam Suntory).

The growth of gin - the “ginaissance” - has unleashed a new generation of distillers, who relish the ability to combine creativity and technology to create unique new drinks. Reflecting the somewhat mixed heritage of gin, there is even a small distillery in east London called Mother’s Ruin, many of whose ingredients are home-grown or foraged from the surrounding countryside. Mother’s Ruin also has a small gin and cocktail bar, the Gin Palace, on the site of its distillery: the “vibe” is casual, with eclectic bar furniture and people sitting outside in the warmer months.

A touch of glass

So what does this mean for those running pubs and bars? The first thing is that customers will often now ask for a gin by brand. People are getting to know their gins, and this connoisseurship should be rewarded by offering a range of gins. Tonic waters and other mixers, too, have become much more sophisticated, with brands such as Fever Tree offering alternatives to the old fizzy stalwarts (sssh, you know who). And remember that gin forms the basis of many cocktails, so putting these on your drinks menu will liven up your offering.

Think about what kind of glasses it should be served in, perhaps opting for something chunkier and more characterful. Many of today’s gin-drinkers prefer lime to lemon, and either way, they want it fresh, not from a preserving jar. Ask before adding ice, as some prefer it without. You could hold special gin-tasting evenings, setting aside an area of your pub for a sampling session.

As well as being a pleasure to drink, the new-generation gins can be a talking point. A bottle of Mother’s Ruin or Bathtub Gin on the shelf of your pub or bar would be sure to get the customers talking.

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