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Pubs and bars

Research guide

Published: 11 Mar 2019 Updated: 17 Jan 2023 Update History

Exclusive content
Access to our exclusive resources is for specific groups of students, members and subscribers.

Use our industry guide to find key background information, market research, import and export guidelines, statistics, legislation, trade bodies and trade publications.

The Business & Industry Guides series is produced by the Library & Information Service for ICAEW members and ACA students.

We can compile tailored key players reports, mailing lists, market reports, benchmarking reports and industry news. Our enquiry team can also research other industry-specific information, such as taxation, for you. Call us on +44 (0)20 7920 8620 or email library@icaew.com.

Guides are also available on Restaurants and the Alcoholic drinks industry.

Trends and forecasts

SIBA Craft Beer Report 2022
Annual report from the Society of Independent Brewers

Cask Report 2019
Annual report from Cask Marque examining the UK's cask ale market and the factors and trends impacting it.

Tax advantaged investment in the pub industry
Report published in October 2017 by Allenbridge, part of asset management consultancy MJ Hudson. Includes key drivers, threats and the future of the UK pub industry. The way in which investments in this area have been made under the UK Government's tax-advantaged investment schemes is also discussed. Completion of a short form is required in order to download the report.

Market research

Market research reports focusing on this business sector are available from a number of market research specialists. In most cases these reports are available to fee-paying subscribers or on a pay-as-you-go basis 

Some free information is available from the following market research specialists, ranging from industry news to executive summaries of the reports.

A full listing of reference products and research reports for the cafes/bars sector from Euromonitor, with a range of global and country level reports. Each report provides a contents listing and a useful executive summary reporting on the key trends in each country report.

Business and industry research specialists offering a range of reports on the alcoholic drinks sector including pubs and clubs. Report snapshots, table of contents and a sample report are available.

A full listing of reports from market intelligence provider Mintel on the pubs, clubs and restaurants sector. Report summaries, table of contents and a sample report are available.

A report on the UK pub market is published annually by MCA, providing insight into the branded, tenanted and independent pub sector. A report summary and table of contents are available to view.

Further resources

Restaurant and Bars Report
The latest edition of BDO's Restaurants and Bar report includes information on the current market, M&A deal activity and trends within the industry. Previous editions of the report are also available.

The alcohol industry
Factsheet from the Institute of Alcohol Studies providing an overview of the UK alcohol industry. Covers industry size, role in the economy, leading companies (including major pub operators), industry consolidation and the business models and commercial strategies of alcohol companies. Published in January 2018.

Industry news

The Library can carry out industry news searches for ICAEW members and ACA students.

Statistics on the UK

British Beer and Pub Association

The British Beer and Pub Association sells an annual Statistical Handbook and provides some free industry statistics through its website including total number of pubs in the UK.

Office for National Statistics

The Annual Business Survey (ABS) from the Office for National Statistics collects financial information covering UK production, construction, distribution and service industries. Statistics available include:

  • number of enterprises;
  • total turnover;
  • approximate gross value added at basic prices;
  • total purchases of goods, materials and services;
  • total employment costs;
  • total net capital expenditure;
  • total net capital expenditure – acquisitions;
  • total net capital expenditure – disposals;
  • total stocks and work in progress – value at end of year;
  • total stocks and work in progress – value at beginning of year;
  • total stocks and work in progress – increase during year.

The dataset Non-financial business economy, UK: Sections A to S includes statistics for:

  • Beverage serving activities (56.3)
    See Section I: Accommodation and food service activities



Average employment costs within this sector are available from Table 14 of the Office for National Statistics publication Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE). Average employment costs are provided for full-time employees, part-time employees and all employees.

The data includes average employment costs for:

  • publicans and managers of licensed premises;
  • catering and bar managers; and
  • bar staff.

Other regions

Please see individual country profile pages for links to sources of national statistics.

Legislation and regulation


Gov.uk offers guidance and information on:

Food and drink businesses: working with the EU provides guidance from GOV.UK on what food and drinks businesses need to do to work with the EU from January 2021 when the transition period after Brexit ends.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has a section on health and safety in catering and hospitality, which includes latest regulations affecting this industry.

UK business guides

British Beer and Pub Association

The British Beer and Pub Association publishes the guide Running a pub: A guide to costs for tenants and lessees. It includes data on typical operating costs over a wide range of pub models and business types.

Atom Content Marketing guides

The Start Up Donut from Atom Content Marketing provides practical information on starting up and running a number of small business types. Guides cover a range of areas including market research, current trends, regulations, products and services, promotion and pricing. They include:

Tactical and Information Packages

HMRC published a series of Tactical and Information Packages (TIPs), replacing Business Economic Notes in 2007, offering guidance to HMRC officers to support compliance activity in the department. The TIPs provide trade-based information with some explanation of key features and trading practices. However, they were subsequently removed from the HMRC website following a policy change.

The text of TIP 130 on licensed trade as published at this time is still available from the article Tactical Information Packages (TIPS) on the AccountingWeb website, however this should be treated with caution as this may no longer be the current version.

UK key players, ratios and trends

We can produce reports on this sector using selected information from the FAME company database. Reports are available for:

  • Public houses and bars
    UK SIC (2007) Code 56.30/2
A range of reports on this sector are available to ICAEW members and ACA students via the Library.

UK benchmarking

The Library can supply benchmarking reports to ICAEW members and ACA students.

Trade bodies

Trade journals and publications

Trade journals, B2B magazines and specialist consumer magazines are another useful source of news and statistics.

Further resources

Drinks industry guide: British Library
British Library industry guides provide listings of resources for industry-specific information, including print directories and materials held by the British Library. Registration is required.

Contact the British Library Business and IP Centre for more information.

Further reading

Articles and books in the Library collection 

To find out how you can borrow books from the Library please see our guide to book loans. You can obtain copies of articles or extracts of books and reports by post or email through our document supply service.

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