National Trust opens its first pub

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In a recent article by the Financial Times about the National Trust’s move into the pub business, the journalist drew attention to the plight of rural pubs in the UK.

The Sticklebarn in the Lake District will be the first pub that they actually own and run themselves with National Trust staff and they aim to serve local beers and serve food grown and supplied locally, as well as operating a tourist information point.

Chief Executive, John Longden was quoted in the piece and said: “One of the innovative ways that rural pubs and other rural businesses can survive is by having a variety of different income streams. Sales of drinks are in decline and food sales are not always, as often quoted, the panacea when competing with supermarket ‘gastro pub’ alternatives.

“In addition, costs of repair and maintenance – for what is very often an old building – are rising, as are rates and utilities. Licensees in rural pubs have to replace this lost income and rising costs with new income streams to widen their appeal.”