A business with pulling power. Why buying a pub is a great investment.

Just like the Rovers Return or the Queen Vic, pubs are a key part of any community. They often have a loyal customer base of regulars, as well as being able to attract new clients through promotions and events.

Over the past few years, there has been an increased turnover in the UK pub industry and a rise in younger landlords investing in businesses. Zurich's SME Risk Index in 2015 found that, since 2012, the number of young pub owners (aged 25 to 34) has increased by more than 25%. The research also found that a significant number of this group of young entrepreneurs were women, with females making up 32% of the group.

Business broker Hilton Smythe has also seen an increase in people wanting to fulfil their dream of buying a local, and have sold everything from the quiet country pub to a busy city centre bar. One pub they're currently selling is The Royal Oak Inn in Moorhouse, Carlisle.

The Royal Oak, a pub with more than 250 years of history, has been owned and managed by Nick and Charlotte Sowerby since Valentine's Day 2007. Situated in a hamlet on the outskirts of Carlisle, the inn sees many customers travelling from surrounding areas to enjoy the home cooked menu or to have a quiet pint.

The charismatic pub has had more than £100,000 worth of renovations in the past decade, and has wood burning stoves and beamed ceilings. The age of the building means that the doorways are slightly lower than we are normally used to, so taller customers often need to be advised to mind their heads.

Gareth Smyth, Group Managing Director at Hilton Smythe, said: "Pubs are a great business for people wanting to be their own boss. Village pubs, like the Royal Oak Inn, are the cornerstone of the community, and have loyal customers as well as passing trade. It's a great source of income, and gives you the chance to get to know people, especially the characters.

"It's great to see that younger people are becoming landlords, as it breathes new life into the industry. There was a time when the idea of a family business, such as a country pub, might have been considered unfashionable, so I'm very pleased that more people can see the potential in running their own pub."

Nick Sowerby said: "I bought the pub about ten years ago, because I wasn't ready to retire and I wanted something to occupy myself. I have a grandson now, so I feel ready to retire, so I can spend more time with my growing family.

"The best thing about running the Royal Oak Inn has been meeting all the customers. There's a real sense of community, and there's always new people coming by to try the food or enjoy the atmosphere. We never have any problems filling the bottle banks at the end of the week!"


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