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Pubscape: innovation by design in the British pub

Lynn Martin (Lord Ashcroft Business School, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK)
Bob Jerrard (Faculty of Arts Design and Media, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK)
Lucy Wright (School of Performance and Cultural Industries, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 3 June 2019

Issue publication date: 4 September 2019




The decline of the British public house (pub), well documented over the past three decades, is often linked to detrimental social and economic conditions in communities. The purpose of this study was to explore brewery responses to turbulent market conditions for the pub trade, with a focus on innovation through design.


A longitudinal, qualitative study was conducted over 12 months, with 4 months of close participant observation within the company, to explore the experiences of a design team located within a medium-sized UK brewery.


The “pubscape” emerged, extending and augmenting earlier models of the “servicescape”, driven by an entrepreneurial shared vision recognising the importance of design and innovation in delivering the modern pub.

Research limitations/implications

A single case – one brewery – formed the basis for a longitudinal qualitative study, with the associated benefits and disadvantages typical of single case research in providing insights rather than measurable outcomes. Other cases and other research methods would allow testing of ideas, rather than exploration, and generate different perspectives.

Practical implications

The research indicates the value of adopting an entrepreneurial approach to address challenging trading conditions and shows the practical role that design can play in rethinking service offerings to fit consumer needs and aspirations.


New insights into modern pub management have emerged from this study, positioning design innovation as a route to delivering successful British destination pubs by innovating while retaining traditional brand values and local identity markers, using the “pubscape” as a specific way to envisage innovative servicescape environments.



Martin, L., Jerrard, B. and Wright, L. (2019), "Pubscape: innovation by design in the British pub", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 31 No. 8, pp. 3018-3036.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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