Since our creation in 1872, as the voice of the retail licensed trade, we have witnessed significant change across our industry as our members’ pubs, hotels and restaurants have evolved and grown in response to changing consumer trends and shifting economic climates. These changes have become more profound in the last decade as our members have diversified to meet the needs of a modern market and the challenges of the great recession.
Where once our licence type described our business as a place to drink, a place to eat or a place to sleep, today we operate a multitude of business models based on so much more. There is no doubt that there will always be a place for our traditional pub, the envy of the world, and it is something we must cherish and protect. However, many of us now use a multitude of names and products to differentiate our businesses and attract customers. Once, the only name that described a public house was ‘Pub’, but today the same premises go by the name of pub, bar, café bar, nightclub and many more. Likewise our hotels and restaurants have undergone significant change with, resorts, spas, delis and diners all joining the modern descriptions of our licensed premises.
Our evolving industry has brought about change within our organisation, as it too has evolved to meet the needs of our members and their businesses. Many of these changes have been subtle, gradual and possibly unnoticed by the outside world. Others have been more obvious like the evolution of our name: from Belfast and Ulster Licensed Vintners Association, to the Federation of the Retail Licensed Trade, to Pubs of Ulster - each one in turn representing a significant transformation within our industry.
We have also been mindful that any changes introduced must remain true to our core objective. Whilst responding to our members needs and better safeguarding and protecting our members businesses.
We have learned that whilst our members retain and cherish the common links of the past, today a stronger link has emerged, and that stronger link is hospitality. It is something they are renowned for and something our members believe we should celebrate and promote.
“We’re not in the hospitality business, we ARE the hospitality business.”