These are the views of VisitEngland and VisitBritain following today's launch of the Grain to Glass initiative from the National Farmers Union (NFU) and the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA).
A report, also published today from the NFU and BBPA found that 270,000 rural jobs in Britain depend on brewing and pubs with over £3.5bn paid in rural wages. The new joint initiative aims to address this, promoting policies that will support Britain’s barley farmers, hop growers, maltsters, brewers, publicans and beer drinkers.
“As well as being attractions in their own right, they can provide essential local services and support local food and drink, enhancing the visitor experience,” said James Berresford, chief executive of VisitEngland. “We are delighted that the recommendations in this report support the objectives of the England Tourism Framework and urge action to deliver growth in rural areas.”
Authentic British life
Sandie Dawe, Chief Executive, VisitBritain added: “Last year 13 million international visitors enjoyed the great atmosphere that can be found at a British pub. Along with experiencing the warmth of our welcome, the pub allows all guests to feel part of authentic British life.
“This experience has been enhanced dramatically over the years, with 13 Michelin-starred restaurants now found in pubs across Britain. The fact that Michelin also produce an Eating Out in Pubs guide each year that features over 500 pubs across Britain is testament of how far things have come.”
Key policies being put forward by the industries involved in the Grain to Glass initiative include:
- Brewing: a review of the structure and impact of beer duty on employment and growth in the rural economy.
- Farming: More investment in crop research and development; less and better regulation, both on and off the farm and in transport.
- Pubs: Support for pubs as a vital part of tourism infrastructure and a review of the impact of red tape.
- Planning: Planners and local authorities to recognise the importance of the pub as the hub of rural communities and to reflect it in their policies.