Full 2023 Programme

The Three Chairmen: Ian Payne MBE, Bob Ivell, Tim Martin

Between them they chair some of Britain’s biggest and most high-profile pub companies in Stonegate, Mitchells & Butlers and J. D. Wetherspoon, with a combined footprint of more than 7,000 sites. Though their All Bar One, O'Neill's, Slug & Lettuce and Wetherspoons brands compete for custom across the high street and beyond, the trio are firm admirers of one another’s contribution to the trade. Boasting a combined experience of more than 130 years in the sector, the industry heavyweights will pore over the evolution of the pub trade, consider the turbulence it has ridden, and share their vision for the future success of this uniquely British concept.

  • Tim Martin, Chairman, JD Wetherspoon
  • Ian Payne, MBE, Chairman and founder, Stonegate Group
  • Bob Ivell, Chairman, Mitchells & Butlers


Late licence Q&A: Raising the bar, with Sarah Willingham

Sarah Willingham bet big on the recovery of the night-time sector, floating her Nightcap vehicle during lockdown, a plan described by most people as “barking mad”. Growing the platform into a £60m turnover business in just two years, the serial entrepreneur, investor and media personality will describe what gave her the confidence to back the sector when there was no vaccine, opportunities for high street expansion and group acquisitions, and why drag brunches prove bars aren’t just for late night.


Future Finance - Revolution Bars Group, City Pub Company and Brasserie Bar Co

Whether listed on the public markets to support group acquisitions and site expansion, or securing a new private equity backer for their next phase of growth, dynamic pub and bar operators need robust financing to fuel growth. In this panel, we will hear from three leaders about their investment strategy, the pros and cons of public versus private, and when they think valuations, M&A activity and debt markets will recover.

  • Richard Ferrier, Managing Director, Brasserie Bar Co
  • Rob Pitcher, CEO, Revolution Bars Group PLC
  • Clive Watson, Chairman, The City Pub Company


REKOM UK: Redemption on the Dancefloor, with Peter Marks

Nightclub and bar group REKOM UK has enjoyed a buoyant return to trade as its young, student demographic let off steam after two years of missed nightlife. In this presentation chairman Peter Marks will discuss diversifying with new bar concepts Proud Mary’s and Heidi’s Beer Bar, insights and influences from its Nordic parent company, and his plan to double down on nightlife with a target of 200 sites.

Doing the right thing: championing equality, diversity & inclusion in the pub sector

Nathan Nalla, founder of inclusive culture organisation Be The Riot, will highlight how improving equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the pub and hospitality sector is not only the right thing to do, but is also good for business. Nathan will explain why EDI matters in pubs, industry tips on cultivating inclusive environments for customers, and how to recruit and promote team members from a more diverse talent pool.


Investor landscape session, with Peter Hansen

Peter Hansen, founding partner at Sapient Corporate Finance, will explore the impact of the challenging economic environment on the UK pub industry and the reaction of investors. He will address the question: when will investors return to the M&A market?


Pubs: the meaning of partnership – with Punch Pubs & Co, Admiral Taverns and Star Pubs & Bars

New operating models have modernised traditional tenanted and leased operator businesses, with partners receiving support, investment and a share of the upside. This panel examines how pub partnerships in 2023 are offering greater operational flexibility and resilience, whilst also extending customer choice.

  • Clive Chesser CEO of Punch Pubs & Co
  • Lawson Mountstevens MD of Star Pubs &  Bars
  • Chris Jowsey CEO of Admiral Taverns
  • Peter Martin, Contributing Editor MCA


Drinks focus panel: authenticity, premiumisation and small beer – with BrewDog, Robinsons, Beerbelle and Greene King

As consumers seek authenticity and locally sourced products, we explore how this trend is playing out for pubs’ biggest product category: beer. The panel will discuss what is proving a hit on the taps, where low and no sits in the sales mix, and how premiumisation is faring amid a cost-of-living crisis.

  • James Brown, CEO, BrewDog Bars
  • Annabel Smith, beer sommelier and founder, Beerbelle
  • Oliver Robinson co-managing director, Robinsons Brewery and Pubs


Oakman: building for growth, with Peter Borg-Neal

Oakman Group is trading well ahead of 2019 and the wider market, showing the compelling attraction of its 40-strong premium food-led pub business. As he steps back into the role of CEO of the company he founded, Peter will consider the near-term outlook for the group, raising further growth capital, and the opportunities and challenges in the wider sector.

Showcase: Creating customer experiences – with Laine Pub Company, The Alchemist, Inception Group and Darwin & Wallace

Pub and bar companies are adding increasingly creative elements to their venues to enhance the customer proposition. From games and entertainment, molecular mixology, elaborate period concepts, to innovative and sustainable interior design, we will hear from leading operators on the USPs that are making their businesses stand out from the crowd.

  • Gavin George, CEO of Laines, will share how his pub company has pioneered theatre and cabaret, remote controlled racing games and virtual reality to breathe new life into large pubs across its estate.
  • Simon Potts, CEO of The Alchemist, will explain how he is taking the theatre of killer cocktail concoction to Germany.
  • Duncan Stirling, co-founder of Inception Group, winner of Best Pub/Bar Company at this year’s Retailers’ Retailer Awards, will give a snapshot of the highly creative historical inspirations and elaborate publicity stunts which have helped the London bar group punch well above its weight.
  • Mel Marriott, MD of Darwin & Wallace, will discuss the design dynamics and F&B innovation involved in taking her all-day neighbourhood bars from brunch through to night time.


Insight: Trends driving growth in the pub sector – with Lumina Intelligence

Blonnie Whist will share highlights from the hotly anticipated Lumina Intelligence Pub Market Report and set out the latest consumer, menu and operator trends that are driving growth. With rising inflation and the cost of living crisis, she will take a deep dive into how the channel is performing this year and forecast how it will fare for 2023.


Operator Panel: The Specialists

With inventive concepts spanning menus, demographics, and day parts, this panel will explore how pubs and bars are innovating in their respective spaces.

  • Richard Brown, Co-Founder The Little and Large Pub Company
  • Hugh Beatson-Hird, Co-Founder of the Lunar Pub Company
  • Max Turner, Business Development Director at Attensi