By Clyde Mooney – editor Australian Hotelier

Pubs across the country have reported a strong uplift in trading over the last five weeks as a result of the British & Irish Lions Australia tour.

Melbourne's Elephant & Wheelbarrow was busy throughout the three test series and saw plenty of Lions fans even on nights without a match, venue manager Cameron Johns told TheShout.

He said the British-themed hotel doubled up its popular 'Neighbours night' of trivia and impromptu theatre with some of the cast members.

"The poms love their Neighbours," said Johns. "The pub was like a home away from home for a lot of visitors from the other side of the world. The tour definitely had a big impact on the venue." [continued below]

Lions fans at The Light Brigade in Paddington, Sydney

General manager of Sydney venue The Local Taphouse, Daniel Leroy, told TheShout the venue had all three levels heaving despite having just one television on the premises. 

"We knew the tour was on, so two to three months ago we planned one of our SpecTAPular takeovers to be British and Irish beers – it turned out to be the biggest day in Taphouse history."

Taphouse co-owner Guy Greenstone reported a 45 per cent uplift in sales in the two weeks that the Lions matches were played in Sydney, with Melbourne sister venue The Local Taphouse St Kilda also experiencing increased patronage.

Both Leroy and Greenstone reported that the Lions fans were excellent customers and no trouble in their venues.

"My advice to any venue is, plan to incorporate with major events – not necessarily the event itself, trying to be the 'best place to watch' or whatever, but do things you usually do but with an element of drama. You can really win," Leroy said.

Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy said the Lions brought 30,000 British tourists along in their wake, generating up to $137.64 million for the national economy.

"The Lions fans are great tourists – they watch a match, they party and they have fun."

The Shout Team

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

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