Pub trade associations: who’s who and what they do

Question markBII, SLTA, ALMR… with so many initials flying around it can all get a little confusing for new publicans. They’re all there to help, but what do they do?

Some associations help to develop your pub business, others promote your beer handling expertise, and some are just there for support when times are tough.

To discover who’s who, here’s a handy A-Z overview of the different pub trade bodies and what they do for pub landlords and landladies.


Association of Multiple Retailers (ALMR)

Uniting and representing the licensed hospitality community

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Website: almr.org.uk/  Twitter: @ALMRInfo

Who they are: The ALMR is the national trade body which represents pubs, clubs, bars and other licensed hospitality operators. Their membership base represents 22,000 outlets which employ over 650,000 people.

What they do: ALMR’s mission includes campaigning for reform of business rates and promoting investment and growth for its members.

Members can benefit in a number of ways…

  • The ALMR’s general counsel service which can help members save money on legal fees.
  • Updates on political, legislative and economic developments which may impact on members.
  • Industry research and surveys – to understand the state of the licensed industry – and represent their concerns.
  • Networking opportunities.

“The ALMR is the UK’s leading voice for licensed hospitality and committed to fighting for a fairer, more flexible deal for the sector.”

Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive at ALMR

How much? Membership start from £300/year.


British Institute of Inkeepers (BII)

Giving representation and professional advice to pub owners

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Website: bii.org/  Twitter: @BIIandBIIAB

Who they are: The BII is the professional body which represents and advises people across the licensed hospitality trade.

What they do: It supports its members in numerous ways, covering a wide range of business advice for running a pub, including legal, licensing, financial and general business management.

BII’s on-tap expertise can save publicans money in the long term.

The BII shares its knowledge and wisdom via newsletters, magazines, mentoring services and helplines. Members also benefit from membership through exclusive discounts on a range of products and services.

How much? Membership starts from £65/year plus VAT.


Cask Marque

Teaching cellar management excellence – and promoting the best learners

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Website: cask-marque.co.uk/  Twitter: @caskmarque

Who they are: Cask Marque is the largest trainer of the Award in Beer & Cellar Quality (ABCQ) which teaches people how to look after beer in the cellar and deliver the perfect pint, every time.

What they do: Cask Marque have two key purposes: to teach beer management excellence and make sure every ale drinker knows about it.

Publicans who successfully learn the craft of looking after and serving quality cask ale, can earn the prestigious ‘Cask Marque’ award. But you will have to pass a test…

Each pub receives two unannounced visits a year checking temperature, appearance, aroma and taste. Pass it and you gain Cask Marque certification, a reassuring plaque on the front of your pub, plus inclusion on the Cask Finder app

So, if any serious ale drinker is in your area, they WILL find you.

“Nearly 10,000 pubs hold the award and it is recognised by 57% of cask ale drinkers.”

– Alastair McNaught, Cask Marque

How much? Membership start from £85/year plus VAT.


Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA)

Campaigners, purveyors and celebrators of real ale

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Website: camra.org.uk/  Twitter: @CAMRA_Official

Who they are: CAMRA is a non-profit organisation which was formed to challenge the domination of the UK beer market by a handful of large companies pushing mass-produced flavourless beverages.

What they do: CAMRA is dedicated to promoting the cause of real ale, the people who brew it and the pubs that serve it. They also campaign on behalf of the industry, taking on causes important to the industry such as the beer duty cut.

For CAMRA it’s about helping to create a healthy business environment in which pubs and breweries can flourish – and having a jolly good time doing it.

Membership benefits include, discounted products, What’s Brewing magazine, discounted beer festival entry, and invitation to CAMRA branch socials in your local area.

Cost: membership from £25/year.


Licensee Supporting Licensees (LSL)

Bringing together publicans and campaigning for real change

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Website: lsl.org.uk/  Twitter: @LSL_Campaign

Who they are: LSL is a community of working licensees which is recognised by the Government as an independent voice for pub licensees. Indeed, it was formally invited to contribute to Government consultation on Pubco Reform.

What they do: One of the key characteristics of LSL is that it’s free-of-influence from the pub companies and large brewery firms whose priorities may clash with those of the working publican.

The organisation seeks to support and represent all licensees, particularly those struggling to make ends meet.

“Most of the time we gain new members because they need help. They need help because they are being abused by their pubcos and they are frightened and angry and at their wits end.”

All manner of experts are part of the LSL community and they are on-hand to give advice about running a pub. Including issues such as legal, marketing, debt management and more.

Membership also offers discounts on a range of products.

How much? Membership is £20/year


Licensed Trade Charity(LTC)

Providing support for publicans in their time of need

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Website: licensedtradecharity.org.uk/ Twitter: @LTCharity

Who they are: The Licensed Trade Charity helps people who work, or have worked, in the licensed drinks trade.

What they do: They provide support to thousands of people every year on a wide range of issues including health, housing, education, financial problems and loneliness.

The pub trade can be tough. Often you’ll be there lending an ear to other people’s problems, but who’s there if you’re going through a tough time?

When you’re the boss; you’ve to be seen to be strong and in control. That’s why groups like the LTC can are so important.

“Our mission is to equip people to be self-reliant, to provide them with the right guidance, and, if necessary, offer financial support to help them get back on their feet and on with their lives again.”

Liz Gaffer, Director of Marketing and Charity Services.


Micropub Association

Promoting and celebrating the burgeoning micropub movement

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Website: micropubassociation.co.uk/  Twitter: @micropubassoc

Who they are: Micropubs are small freehouse pubs which are committed to serving cask ales and shunning “all forms of electronic entertainment.”

Their small size creates a cosy atmosphere and the lack of digital tech distractions means ol’ fashioned conversation is back to the fore.

What they do: The Micropub Association was formed to promote and celebrate the UK’s growing micropub and microbrewery movement.

The number of UK micropubs has doubled in the last year, according to their latest research.

Membership gives you a listing on their micropub map and full access to the blog and forum.

How much? Membership is £10/year


National Pubwatch

Helping pubs achieve safer social drinking environments

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Website: nationalpubwatch.org.uk/  Twitter: @NatPubwatch

Who they are: National Pubwatch is a voluntary organisation which helps pubs achieve a safe, secure and responsibly-led social drinking environment.

With representatives across the country, the group can work within local communities to a safe and civilised drinking culture.

What they do: It’s chief aim is to reduce alcohol-related crime by offering on-tap advice and information.

All good publicans are committed to providing customers with a safe drinking environment. Indeed, they have legal duties as a licence holder. National Pubwatch can help them achieve their ideals with practical advice and by working with statutory bodies, including the local police force.

National Pubwatch’s Good Practice Guide is a respected resource for local bodies and those working in the licensed trade.

How much? £0 – it’s a voluntary group.


Pub is The Hub

Helping rural pubs take a more prominent role in the community

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Website: http://www.pubisthehub.org.uk/  Twitter: @PubistheHub_uk

Who they are: Pub is The Hub is a group of specialist voluntary advisors who help rural pubs get more involved in their communities.

What they do: They bring together licensees, local authorities, community groups and the private sector – and work out how pubs can provide additional services so that everyone benefits.

Pub is The Hub helped the Badger Hounds in Yorkshire open a much-needed post office, while The Chequers in Norfolk were assisted in opening a community cinema.

Smaller-scale changes might include hosting community clubs, such as senior citizens luncheons or book exchange services.

How much? £0 – it’s a voluntary group.


Pubs Advisory Service (PAS)

Helping soon-to-be publicans avoid pub buying pitfalls

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Website: http://www.pubs.expert/  Twitter: @PubsAdvisory

Who they are: PAS was set up to give would-be publicans a source of independent advice on a wide range of issues before they get into the trade.

What they do: Because PAS considers that type of advice lacking and, indeed, so did the Government when it responded to the pubco report back in 2011.

Its main focus is to provide information for people looking to lease or rent a premises from a pub company or brewery firm. The idea is to help people make better informed decisions when taking on a pub.

PAS also represents the interests of members to Government and has been a major voice in pushing forward legislation enabling publicans to opt out of the beer tie.

While its website offers free guides and advice, members also get more in-depth information, including presentations, video content and slideshows.

How much? Membership is £20/year.


Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA)

Practical help and representation for pub owners in Scotland

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Website: http://www.theslta.co.uk/  Twitter: @SLTAssociation

Who they are: SLTA represents Scotland’s licensed trade and offers a range of services, including access to training, legal, and accountancy services.

What they do: If you’re running a pub in Scotland and want to get your voice heard, the SLTA will campaign to the Government on your behalf AND offer practical business assistance.

And its service is expanding…

The SLTA’s updated aims and objectives include:-

  • Development of a Communication Channel for Personal Licence Holders.
  • To drive Training, Education, Job Creation and “Life Skills”.
  • To lobby for the Standardisation of local authority legislation and policies affecting the Industry throughout Scotland.
  • To provide a “One Stop Shop” for the Government to connect with Scotland’s Pubs and Bars.
  • Raise the perception of the Licensed Trade as one of Scotland’s key sector employers and tourist revenue streams.

How much? A scale of membership rates ranging from £86 to £170/year (dependent on the type of premises).

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