By Vanessa Cavasinni, editor Australian Hotelier

The inaugural Pub Leaders Summit has been hailed a success, with an incredible line-up of speakers imparting their knowledge and experience to a sold out crowd. Audience favourites included hotel legend Arthur Laundy, operator Chris Cheung, and Sand Hill Road director Andy Mullins.

Paddy Coughlan of Bourke street began proceedings with a cracking keynote speech on the need for hoteliers to adapt their skills to changing markets, and set the standard for what was a day of incredible sessions.

One of the big topics of the day was lockouts and the increasing red tape of compliance. Chris Cheung, Ben Stephens of Solotel and Patrick Gallagher of Gallagher Hotels all spoke eloquently on the impact lockout legislation has had on Sydney nightlife, while moderator Stephen Hunt of Hunt Hospitality talked about his experience with the Newcastle lockouts.

The topic was also brought into other sessions throughout the day, with Solotel’s COO Justine Baker, Paddy Coughlan and Arthur Laundy all expressing their distaste for the lockouts and in particular the increasingly aggressive presence of licensing officials – while also acknowledging that these measures are likely here to stay and good operators would adapt to the current pub environment.

Food and beverage were also covered with publicans Jaime Wirth and Steve McDermott, both with a lot of experience dealing with food-focused pubs, explaining what components make for a good pub menu, the skills needed by your kitchen staff, and having one challenging dish that gives your food offering a point of difference.

Educating patrons about craft beer and spirits, and the continuing space for mainstream beer were all discussed in the Premium Beverage Opportunities session with Guy Greenstone and Steve Jeffares from The Local expressing their desire to educate beer lovers on the different flavours and styles of craft beer, David Stingl of CUB explaining the role of mainstream beer in the market, and Jeremy Shipley, group bar manager of Solotel explaining the opportunities for pubs with craft spirits and cocktails.

The expo area was a fantastic display of quality products, with some great competitions from Platinum Sponsor Intrust Super, and Silver Sponsor AusComply. J. L. Lennard were on hand to create some delicious pub meals for delegates to sample, and many delegates took home some great information from all of our sponsors.

The day ended with some fabulous networking drinks by CUB, and an afterparty at Beer DeLuxe, where Nightlife launched their new product crowdDJ and delegates enjoyed drinks overlooking Darling Harbour.

Delegates were overwhelmingly positive, with many already looking forward to next year.

“I thoroughly enjoyed it. The two sessions I enjoyed the most were the Managing Multiple Sites panel with Angela Gallagher, Justine Baker and Jaime Wirth, and the financing future expansion session. All in all a wonderful event and I would definitely come back next year,” said Michelle Grant, co-owner of Brisbane Brewing Co. 

The speakers were also incredibly happy with the event. Andy Mullins was also looking ahead to the next event.

“All I can say is please do it again next year, but do it across two days, because I’m sure everyone here would love to come back for a second day. It’s an amazing event – well done!”

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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