23rd April - St George's Day.
Missing a trick?
Are you planning to make the most of April 23 to drive up turnover in your pub?
The campaign to celebrate St George’s Day on April 23 is well under way with more brewers, pub companies and licensees backing the cause this year than ever before.
Growing support for the campaign means that licensees are realising the commercial advantages of running an event on the day.
While pubs reap the rewards of St Patrick’s Day, it seems that St George has been snubbed and licensees could be missing out on a worthy business opportunity.
Even better for this year is the fact that St George’s Day falls on a Sunday, allowing licensees to make the most of the whole weekend of trading. Why not organise a cockney knees-up, a day of traditional English fare, a quiz night or even a maypole dancing event?
Brewer Charles Wells has estimated that publicans are missing out on over £14m of business if they do not celebrate the day. The brewer, which has been spearheading the campaign, also revealed that half a million extra pints of its Bombardier were sold in April 2004 than in the same month in 2003,thanks to promotion of the saint’s day. Also, in 2004, pub company Mitchells & Butlers saw double-digit growth across its estate, while Punch Taverns reported an increase of five per cent in cask sales during the week.
Sarah McGhie, spokeswoman for Charles Wells, said: “Pub companies and licensees have realised this is a great commercial opportunity. We have seen it grow to be the third busiest day in the pub calendar. Beer drinkers want to go out on April 23 and they are looking for pubs running patriotic events. We are seeing this become as popular as St Patrick’s day.”
The campaign got off to a flying start last month when it received consumer support from national newspaper The Daily Telegraph. The newspaper joined The Publican in partnering Charles Wells to raise awareness of the day by launching a competition for licensees to win a £5,000 party in their pub to celebrate.
The flag of St George has suffered some negative connotations within English society and has had some association with hooliganism and racism in the past. This has inevitably meant that some licensees have been reluctant to get on board and make the most of the day.
However, it really is time for licensees to take the plunge and organise events and promotions to build business and to commemorate being English.
If the Irish can celebrate then why can’t English licensees do the same?
Who was St George?
Very little is actually known about him apart from the legend of St George which shows him as a dragon slayer during medieval times.
He was born in Turkey
He was a Roman soldier who lived in the 3rd century
He was tortured and beheaded in Palestine in AD303 for defending the rights of Christians
He is the patron saint not only of England but of Georgia, Palestine, Portugal, Germany and Greece
April 23 was named as St George’s Day in 1222
He was marked as the official patron saint of England in 1425 after Henry V’s victory at the Battle of Agincourt.
Tips for St George’s Day
Go to www.thevalueofstgeorge.com (external - login to view)
for hints and tips and suggestions on how to celebrate the day
Consider organising a weekend of activity as St George’s Day falls on the weekend
Work with your local newspaper to generate footfall in your pub
Celebrate being English by showing England winning the 1966 football World Cup or the 2003 Rugby World Cup or the 2005 Ashes Series
Hold an English-themed evening with a traditional English food, quiz or music.