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Here you can find licensed trade news and updates, the weekly e-newsletter INNfocus, past editions of the BII News (our quarterly magazine), and hear all about our latest industry campaigns.

BII Licensee of the Year 2024 Semi-Finalists Announced

The British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) is delighted to announce their 12 Semi-Finalists for this year’s Licensee of the Year competition.

In partnership with Sky Business, the Licensee of the Year competition is widely regarded as the most rigorous and hard-fought award for individual licensee operators in the UK. 

Since the launch in January this year, licensee operators have been entering the competition, showing the judges evidence of how they have been building their businesses and communities, with a focus on their resilience, sustainability, diversification and commitment to their teams. 

This year, the entries and Quarter-Finalists have been of a particularly high standard, making it even more difficult for the team of judges to decide who made the Semi-Finals.

Selected from a field of over 300 entrants, the 12 Semi-Finalists have reached this far in the awards based on their exceptional entry forms, social media and web presence audits as well as mystery customer visits, courtesy of HGEM. Head Judges, Amanda Hemming FBII and Ashley McCarthy CBII, will be making their way across the country over the next few weeks to meet all of the Semi-Finalists in person to experience their businesses first hand. 

The 2024 Licensee of the Year Semi-Finalists are as follows: 
Andrew Goodall – Rose & Crown, Severnstoke – WR8 9JQ 
Benjamin Bullman – The George IV – W4 2DR
Chris Michaelas – The Dartford Sports Bar – DA1 2DJ
Emma Harrison – The Three Hills – CB21 4PW
Harry Seccombe & Nicholas Humphrey – Chaplin’s & The Cellar Bar – BH1 4AG
Helen Paterson – The Cherry Tree – ML2 0BP
Justine Lorriman – The Royal Dyche – BB11 3BW
Max Shaw & Kelly Deary – The Castle Inn – DE74 2PP
Paul Dexter – The Old Swan – NN6 0NA
Sarah Godwin – The Lamb Inn – BS26 2AP
Steve Banks – The Woodman, Ruislip – HA4 7SE
Victoria Williams & Zac Williams-Wolfe – Fletchers Arms – M34 6EG

Steven Alton, BII CEO commented: 
"Our Licensee of the Year Award is the most prestigious & hard-fought award, showing the excellence in our sector; our Semi-Finalists are of a fantastic standard.

“We are proud that the awards process this year, more than ever, is offering a value-added experience to all those involved with business insight and the chance to evaluate your business available at every stage. In addition to the mystery customer visits, facilitated once again by HGEM, we have this year been supported by useyourlocal who have been promoting our entrants to consumers across the whole of the UK. With Cask Marque auditing cellars in addition to the visits from our Head Judges, Amanda and Ashley, the competition this year will provide more value to contestants than ever before."
Following the judging visits, the finalists will be announced in mid-May.

All six finalists will be presented with a trophy at the BII Summer Event on 18th June, where the overall winner of Licensee of the Year 2024 will be crowned.

To learn more about the LOYA Semi-Finalists, see

If you would like tickets to the event of the summer to see the best operators in the UK being recognised and network with 900 industry friends and colleagues, you can view our Summer Event page here
The BII would like to thank everyone who has entered the competition this year. Keep your eyes peeled for another opportunity to enter in January 2025.

50 Hospitality Leaders take on a 230KM Cycle across North Devon's Rolling Hills in the Return of Pedalling 2 Pubs: UK Edition

After the incredible success of the debut Pedalling 2 Pubs ride in 2023,  the epic industry bike ride and sibling fundraiser to Pedalling for Pubs, is returning for another year, having raised over £25k so far for two vital industry charities; Only A Pavement Away and the Licensed Trade Charity. This year’s Pedalling 2 Pubs team will set off in just over a month, with 50 hospitality professionals cycling 230km across the rolling hills of North Devon from the 16th – 18th May 2024, all for a fantastic cause.

Pedalling 2 Pubs launched last year, with riders tackling the Yorkshire Wolds and raising an incredible £80k. 
This year’s UK ride follows the incredible effort of the Pedalling for Pubs team, which saw 30 riders from across the hospitality sector take on the mammoth 400km cycle across rugged terrain in Kenya, from Nairobi to the Masai 
Mara last month. 

Through the united effort of Pedalling for Pubs and Pedalling 2 Pubs, organisers have set the impressive target of raising over £350k for the two charities this year. Adding to an astounding £670k already raised in the first 2 years since the challenge was founded in 2022. 

Commenting on this year’s Pedalling 2 Pubs, Steve Alton, Lead Rider and CEO at the BII said “Alongside the fantastic and incredibly tough challenge recently undertaken in Kenya, organised and led by the inimitable Katy Moses, I am delighted to be leading the UK edition of this fantastic charity initiative. We have 50 fantastic fundraisers signed up to cycle over 230km across North Devon in May, with some tough climbing of over 3,300m which is higher than the 3 peaks combined! All of the riders are passionate about the life changing impact of the two critical sector charities that we are raising vital funds for, as well as being able to refuel and recover at some great British pubs along the way.”

Chris Welham, CEO of the Licensed Trade Charity added “It’s brilliant to be involved in this year’s Pedalling 2 Pubs ride. It’s an initiative that’s great at bringing the industry together and is so effective at raising vital funds and awareness for the Licensed Trade Charity, both of which are critical in enabling us to help even more people across our industry that need it most. Good luck to my fellow riders and thank you to all who have already donated.” 

Greg Mangham, Founder and CEO of Only A Pavement Away said “I’m beyond grateful for all those who are taking part in this year’s Pedalling 2 Pubs, and to those who have donated so far. Both these rides really are a testament to how our industry comes together year on year to help those who need it most. The funds Only A Pavement receives from this campaign enables us to reach more people facing homelessness and provide them with a pathway into a stable career in hospitality. It really does change lives, so thank you to all our riders, sponsors and supporters.”
To find out more about the challenge or to donate, please follow this link:

Pubs are facing increased pressures from Organised Crime Groups but Intelligence Sharing can be the solution

Pubs are facing an increase in organised crime activity but having a local pubwatch can help tackle this through intelligence sharing.

This was the view at the National Pubwatch Conference which took place in Sheffield earlier this month. 

Dan Davies, ceo of Rockpoint Leisure and current chairman of the Institute of licensing, which is spearheading the regeneration of New Brighton, near Liverpool, said that organised crime groups and gang activity is a problem faced by the licensed trade across the country. 

Davies told delegates that it is a “very complex subject.” 

“We have been 15-to-20 years behind some of the American gang culture. There has always been gangs in the UK but what we have seen across the last number of years is a rise in a more organised gang activity,” he said. 

“We have also seen a massive rise in knife crime and again this is not people carrying around a pen knife, these are often machetes and zombie knifes and things like this.”

He highlighted issues that have contributed to this rise including urban planning issues where businesses and high streets have ‘failed’ and been replaced with housing. 

“If you have a place where people just live, and they don’t work and don’t socialise there, they become displaced,” he added. 

“It can often bring friction and a spiral downwards. People just want jobs and opportunities. All of these things, as well as the economic climate, are the ‘Tinder box’ for more gang activity.” 

Davies said that part of the problem is that youths want a sense of direction and belonging, which see many join gangs. But he used this need to belong to make the young people part of the regeneration of New Brighton. 

“We have been charting the activities they have been doing over the last six years and you can really see if they are given opportunities and given the right investment in time and role models, they can take the right path,” he said. 

“They commit crimes but they don’t understand the knock-on effect that can have to themselves, to their families or to any victims and their families as well. This is something that is an important topic and it needs to be top of the agenda moving forward.  We need to work together and find the best practice.” 

Davies worked with Inspector Alan McKeon Merseyside police, who was a community inspector dealing with organised crime groups in the Wirral. 

“My view is that a good licensee is worth their weight in gold. We talk prevention.  There is nothing better than to have a licensee on board,” he said. 

He stressed that licensees need support to deal with these organised crime groups, some of whom want to drink in their pubs and licensed premises. 
Inspector Alan McKeon said that it is crucial for licensees and pubs to share intelligence so incidents can be avoided.  

He highlighted the murder of innocent victim beautician Elle Edwards who died after being shot in the cross-fire of an organised crime attack at a pub in Wallasey Village on Christmas Eve in 2022. The organised crime group had decided to frequent the premises, which was not seen by the police as a pub with any issues. 

“I will keep saying it. If they were part of a scheme like Pubwatch that information would have been shared and would have got to us,” he added.  

For more information: Steve Baker on 07944030555 or [email protected]

Workforce Launching Today

The BII (British Institute of Innkeeping) has today launched its brand new, free-to-use membership platform, Workforce, promoting the incredible career opportunities available in pubs and providing practical support and inspiration for everyone working in the sector.


The charity and membership organisation which supports over 13,000 members, the majority of whom run independent pub businesses across the UK, has created Workforce to further support its members and the wider pub sector, by providing essential advice, information and guidance for their teams and showcasing inspiring career stories from across the pub sector and beyond.


It has never been more important to nurture and develop the home-grown talent that exists within the pub sector. From professional development, apprenticeships, and training information, to blogs and podcasts sharing the stories of those at the beginning of their careers through to industry leaders, Workforce will promote the welcoming and diverse nature of pubs and help attract and retain the home-grown talent needed to help keep pubs thriving in every community in the UK.


The BII has worked collaboratively with leading organisations and individual experts from across the sector to create Workforce, with the BIIAB, Sky Business & Licensed Trade Charity becoming Foundation Partners, supporting the platform as it continues to grow and develop in the coming months.


Other Workforce Partners have made their expertise and resources available to members across the platform, with HJUK, KAM, HIT Training, The Skills Network, Hospitality Rewards, Only a Pavement Away, Zonal, So Let’s Talk and Essential Cuisine all providing content and support.


Steven Alton, BII CEO commented:


“Workforce will be instrumental in creating a free to use community for team members from across the sector, enabling their growth and development in our fantastic industry.

“I am incredibly proud that we are able to launch this free-to-use platform, promoting the incredible career opportunities that exist for people from all walks of life in the pub sector, and supporting BII members as they recruit and nurture the next generation of amazing talent.”


The BII are inviting anyone working in the pub sector to join Workforce by signing up at today to get access to career guidance, podcasts and blogs featuring fantastic stories from across the industry, wellbeing advice and support, and discounted pub experiences with Perks. Future developments for members will include webinars with award-winning mentors, free training opportunities, competitions and more.

HIT Training welcomes Government's Fully Funded Apprenticeship Initiative for Small Businesses

Following the news that the Government will fully fund apprenticeships in small businesses by paying the full cost of training for anyone up to the age of 21, there is no one more delighted than HIT Training - the market-leading specialist apprenticeship and training provider for the UK’s hospitality, catering and retail industries.

At a speech to the Business Connect conference, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, announced a range of measures to support small and medium sized employers (SMEs). This consists of £60 million in additional investment to enable up to 20,000 more apprenticeships, including for young people and small businesses.

According to the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), over 99% of businesses are SMEs, so they play a vital role in filling the UK’s skills gap and traditionally take on more younger apprentices, as well as those at entry level and from disadvantaged backgrounds. The move will help SMEs recruit more apprentices by reducing costs and enabling more employers to get the skilled workers they need. 

Commenting on the news, Mike Worley, Managing Director at HIT Training said: "I'm delighted to hear the announcement that from the 1st April, apprentices aged 21 and under will be fully funded for small employers. Small employers provide many job opportunities and can play a massive part in the growth of the economy."

The new measures will allow larger businesses to transfer a greater proportion of unused apprenticeship levy funds to smaller businesses to make use of. Commenting on the move, Mike  said: 

“Increasing the level of funds that large levy-paying employers can transfer to other businesses from 25% to 50% will give small employers further opportunities to build a skilled workforce. These extra funds will go towards apprentice training and support individuals into meaningful and rewarding employment. HIT has championed extra support for small businesses since the levy was launched, and we implore the government to extend this further by funding apprenticeships for all ages in small businesses.”

SMEs are facing particularly difficult recruitment challenges, with 89% struggling to match salaries offered by bigger organisations in the UK. Investing in training and development is crucial for the sector to attract and retain the committed and thriving workforce it needs. The new move will help invest money into the industry while unlocking more opportunities for both young people and older workers looking to move into the hospitality industry through apprenticeships. 

To learn more how apprenticeships could benefit your business and gain access to the new funding, visit

Strong St Patrick's Day Weekend Across the UK On Trade

The UK on trade benefitted from a strong St Patrick’s weekend of sales helped along by the final matches of the Guinness Six Nations tournament.

The celebrations for the St Patrick’s Day weekend started on Friday and continued through to the day itself on Sunday the 17th with sales across the 3 days up +3.3% versus the same weekend in 2023.  In addition to this, the weekend was +11% up versus every other weekend in 2024 thus far, which was a real result for the hospitality industry that has struggled to see any real momentum as yet this year.

The weekend drove a total of 27m pints of draught beer and cider with c.4.5m pints of stout consumed across the 3 days.  Overall, the trade saw strong growth in Ale, Cider, Stout and World Lager as consumers celebrated the ‘craic’ with friends and family.
The average pub served 1,077 pints of Draught Beer & Cider over the course of the weekend, equating to a £3,301 income generator.  This was an extra +106 pints sold per pub versus an average weekend this year.

Last year, St Patrick’s Day fell on the Friday and became one of the biggest sales days of the year - this year we saw Saturday driving the highest sales as many outlets capitalised on both the Super Saturday of the Six Nations finale along with many St Patrick’s Day events.

England had the thirstiest fans drinking an extra 126 pints, with Scotland a steady second drinking an extra 96 pints but Wales fans had clearly given up on the tournament and drank 72 pints less than average.
Overall footfall to pubs grew in line with volume with the weekend +2.9% vs. 2023 driven by strong increases on Saturday & Sunday. Saturday saw growth in City Centres and Suburbia as groups gathered for St Patrick’s Day and the Rugby, whilst Sunday was all about Rural & Suburban areas.

And people stayed even longer with the average consumer dwell time growing at a total level to 135 mins vs. 131 mins in the same week last year (+3.1%). City Centres and Suburbia benefitted the most, as all locations grew consumer visit length over the weekend.
Oxford Partnership’s CEO, Alison Jordan, commented: “The weekend’s sales were a great result for the On Trade and exactly what the hospitality sector needed – here’s hoping the Easter weekend will continue this trajectory and show equally strong results.” 
Read the full Oxford Partnership report here.
The Oxford Partnership is a real time market intelligence business that informs customers’ decision making to increase growth revenue, market share and efficiency.  Proprietary algorithms developed by sector leading data scientists combined with intricate knowledge of the hospitality sector enable the delivery of leading insights to customers around the globe.

Calls to the Licensed Trade Charity Helpline Hits Record High of 4,560 in 2023

The Licensed Trade Charity (LTC), the 230-year-old industry charity supporting drinks professionals in need of emotional support, specialist advice and financial assistance, experienced an unprecedented 43% jump in calls to its helpline in 2023 compared to the previous year.

A total of 4,560 people from across the sector contacted the LTC through its 24/7 helpline in 2023 – the highest number of calls the charity has received in a 12-month period since the helpline was established. Across all its support services, the LTC provided aid to 47,130 people in the drinks industry last year, highlighting the critical role the organisation plays in helping support individuals currently or previously employed within the licensed trade.

Financial issues continue to represent a clear pressure on people in the sector, with 23% of calls received by the LTC referred to the grants team to discuss necessary financial assistance. In 2023 alone, £1.4m was awarded in grants and services by the LTC, up from £1.17m in 2022.

The LTC’s chief executive officer Chris Welham said: “The hospitality and drink sectors have faced unprecedented challenges over the past four years, and the pressures on our industry are being felt throughout the workforce.  
“2023 represented the busiest year on record for the LTC, with a significant spike in individuals requiring support with their mental health, and assistance with their finances. Although this is clearly a worrying time for many across our industry, I am glad the LTC has been able to provide meaningful help to so many people. Increased awareness for the charity has been critical for us to reach a greater number of people needing aid, so I thank everyone who has amplified our message and raised vital funds over the past year.”  

When asked how they heard about the charity’s helpline, 36% said they were referred by their employer, 9% by Turn2us, while 6% were referred to by other charities and housing associations, and 1% by the public sector. 

Fifty-three per cent of those who made the call were employed at the time, and 44% of all calls made came from individuals working at one of the four largest pub companies in the UK – highlighting how important the LTC is viewed by the biggest operators. 

The figures are a record high for the charity since the helpline was first established and demonstrates significant effort on the part of the LTC in helping to grow awareness in the industry, being trusted and relied on as an organisation that people can turn to in times in need

BII Licensee of the Year 2024 Quarter-Finalists Announced!

The British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) is delighted to announce their Quarter-Finalists for this year’s Licensee of the Year Award (LOYA).

In partnership with Sky Business, the Licensee of the Year Award is widely regarded as the most rigorous and hard-fought award for individual licensee operators in the UK. 

Since the launch in January this year, those working in the licensed trade were encouraged to enter to showcase their businesses, sharing how they have continued to diversify and develop their businesses to become more sustainable and thrive. 

With well over 300 licensees being nominated by colleagues, customers and friends as worthy contenders for the award, the particularly high standard of entries received this year made it even more difficult for the team of judges to decide on the Quarter-Finalists. 

Selected from the field of over 300 entrants, the Licensee of the Year Quarter-Finalists have reached this far in the awards based on their fantastic applications, coupled with social media and web assessments carried out by the BII team. 

The next step involves HGEM, partners of the BII Licensee of the Year Award, sending out mystery diners and drinkers to each of the Quarter-Finalists. 

Steve Alton, BII CEO commented: "Our Licensee of the Year Award is the most prestigious & hard-fought award, showing the excellence in our sector. We are delighted to have had so many entries in 2024, despite the challenges that our sector has faced over the last few years, showing, as ever, the resilience and commitment of our licensees.

“We are proud that these awards offer a value-added experience to all those involved with business insight and the chance to evaluate their businesses at every stage, from mystery diner visits and feedback, right through to our final judging day at Sky HQ.

“The best of luck to everyone involved this year and I look forward to meeting our finalists in June for their final judging day."

The BII will announce their Semi-Finalists in April, who will then receive a visit and interview at their premises with Head Judges, Amanda Hemming and Ashley McCarthy to help decide on the final six! 

All six finalists will be presented with a trophy at the BII Summer Event on 18th June, where the winner of Licensee of the Year 2024 will ultimately be crowned.

The BII would like to thank everyone who has entered the competition this year. Keep your eyes peeled for another opportunity to enter in January 2025.

The 2024 Licensee of the Year Quarter-Finalists can all be found on the BII website in the link below:

Official Launch of Hospitality & Universities United

Hospitality & Universities United (HUU) is the brand-new collaboration between universities and hospitality employers across the UK with a dedicated platform to educate and connect students with hospitality businesses, as they start their career in hospitality.

Created by Dawn Lawrence, Founder of Hospitality Jobs UK and Lisa Wyld, Head of Missenden Abbey International Hotel and Hospitality School, HUU is there to support and outline the latest placement, graduate and part-time opportunities alongside education on career pathways, information on the multiple sectors available within hospitality and recommendations on how to prepare for their first job. 

From an employer’s perspective, HUU will be the foundation for engaging with students throughout the year through a multitude of events, masterclasses, newsletters and free placement and graduate advertising. For businesses that want to create graduate or placement roles, HUU will provide the knowledge and toolkit to do this from those that already have successful programmes in place, plus additional information for employers on the latest immigration regulations on how to employ students from abroad.              

Dawn Lawrence, Founder of HJUK said, “Currently only 27% of students studying a hospitality focussed degree progress to working in hospitality. This has to change! Students are the future workforce for the hospitality industry and HUU has created a platform for employers to easily create and share job opportunities with students, allowing students to gain great hands on experience and build long term relationships with future employers whilst at the same time letting them understand the breadth of opportunities available.”

Lisa Wyld, Head of Missenden Abbey International Hotel and Hospitality School said, “Having one platform that showcases every opportunity available is key to inspiring more students to choose hospitality as a future career possibility. The more businesses that can create placement and graduate programmes, the more likely they will be to stay in our industry. In universities we have the future leaders of the world of hospitality. ”          

Jill Meyerhoff, Head of Recruitment & Immigration at Hall & Woodhouse and HUU Super Ambassador said, “We at Hall & Woodhouse are delighted to be supporting the HUU initiative to bring graduates and employers from across the UK together. Dawn, Lisa and the team behind HUU are true champions of the Hospitality industry in all its forms”

If you would like to find out more about how you can support Hospitality & Universities United visit or contact Dawn Lawrence at [email protected] 
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