13 June 2014

Local pubs report increase in footfall and turnover

Glasses are being raised across Northern Ireland following the great success of the inaugural Great Ulster Pub Week.

For nine days and nine nights (1st-9th May 2014), pubs across Northern Ireland joined forces to show their best side with a packed programme of events, as part of the Pubs of Ulster led initiative.

Over 160 pubs took part in the exciting pub celebration, which was the biggest pub centric multi-venue event seen in Northern Ireland. A post event survey of participating pubs showed that a whopping 85% of the pubs experienced an increase in footfall, with 77% of pubs reporting a rise in turnover, as local residents turned out in their droves to support the nine day extravaganza.

Hundreds of events took place in pubs throughout the province; from live music, magic, theatre productions, poetry readings and pub quizzes to arts & crafts workshops, film screenings and charity challenges. The Great Ulster Pub Week brought a diverse array of events that surprised and delighted pubgoers across the province and showcased the great food, great entertainment and great craic our local pubs are famous for.

Commenting on the success of The Great Ulster Pub Week 2014, Colin Neill, CEO, Pubs of Ulster said:

"The support we received from the publicans and the general public in the inaugural year of The Great Ulster Pub Week was very encouraging.

"The Great Ulster Pub Week created a welcome promotional platform from which pubs could highlight their events but crucially, it also provided tangible opportunities to up skill staff within the local pub industry, with the provision of World Host Customer Service and social media training offered to all pubs taking part. A bespoke Great Ulster Pub Week How To guide also provided practical guidance on how to run and promote successful events.

"Our survey of participating pubs discovered that that over 77% of the pubs put on a new event especially for The Great Ulster Pub Week. The majority (85%) of premises hosted between 1 - 6 events during Pub Week, with 15% hosting 7 – 9 events. The aim of the initiative was to inspire publicans to think differently about their businesses and to innovate for success; we're heartened by the positive feedback from publicans since the event, which is a clear indication of the success of the project."

Pubs of Ulster chairman, Mark Stewart added:

"The Great Ulster Pub Week created a fantastic buzz in our local pub industry but its legacy will last longer than nine days. It has helped show that our pubs aren't just about alcohol but that they're focused on serving up fantastic food, excellent entertainment and great events.

"This was the perfect opportunity for pubs to remind their customers how great they are and also to communicate with new customers. Pubs of Ulster is committed to highlighting the valuable social and economic contribution of our local pubs and it's encouraging that so many people have come away from this initiative seeing the industry in a new light.

"The Great Ulster Pub Week inspired publicans to think differently about their businesses and to try new things. The overwhelming majority of pubs surveyed in the weeks after the event (85%) said they would take part again, which is a clear sign of the success of the initiative."

The Great Ulster Pub Week kicked off with an attempt to stage the world's largest simultaneous multi-venue pub quiz in association with Downtown Radio and Cash For Kids NI. Some 40 pubs across NI took part in the live pub quiz, which was broadcast on Downtown. Whilst the attempt came shy of beating the existing record of 2,769 participants, a great night was had in pubs across Northern Ireland, with Downtown listeners also taking part in the quiz at home. The flagship event, which raised over £3,000 for children's charity, Cash For Kids was just one of dozens of charity fundraisers held during the nine days, with pubs estimated to have raised over £10,000 collectively during The Great Ulster Pub Week.

The Great Ulster Pub Week was buoyed by a province wide PR, marketing and social media campaign and was supported by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Coca Cola, Coors Light, Guinness, Harp, Heineken, Jameson and Tennent's, with media partners, Downtown/Cool FM, Hospitality Review NI and The Sunday Life.


For further information, please contact:

Sinead Doyle, MCE Public Relations, 028 9026 7099/ 0791 205 9230 or or Stephanie Todd, MCE Public Relations on 028 9026 7099,

Notes to Editor:

All figures quoted are from the Great Ulster Pub Week post event survey that was issued to all participating pubs. The survey was carried out online from May 16 – June 5 2014.Pubs of Ulster is committed to the responsible retail of alcohol and established the Joint Industry Code for the Responsible Promotion and Retail of Alcohol to promote best practice and prevent alcohol being irresponsibly promoted or sold. The Code came into effect in September 2012 and outlines the basic standards expected of those involved in the production, promotion, retail and service of alcohol in Northern Ireland.