Bar Industry Changes Over Servaclean’s 35-Year History

Bar Industry Changes Over Servaclean’s 35-Year History

It may be hard to believe, but Servaclean first started trading on 1st August 1988.  Over the course of our 35 years, the business has gone from strength to strength, weathering global financial crises and governmental shutdowns, to reach the other side even stronger.

This is in no small part due to the industry Servaclean serves, as hospitality continues to prove itself as a consistently strong and resilient market in the UK.  It has faced its own challenges, though, and with them inevitably come changes. One such change is the rise of no and low alcoholic drinks.

In this blog, we will be discussing some of the changes in the bar industry over the past 35 years, some seismic and others convenient.  Of course, there is only one place to start: the price of a pint.

The Price of a Pint

It’s hard to quantify exactly how much the cost of a pint has changed over the course of 35 years. One thing we can all agree on is that it has become much more expensive.  Back in 1988, if you were to tell someone that the cost of a couple drinks would set you back a tenner, you’d never step foot in that bar.

Now, it’s hard to find anywhere that gets a pint below that £3 mark, and one unnamed pub in London hit a shocking average of £8.06 a pint in 2022.

Overall, pints back in 1988 ranged in price from around £1 to £1.50. For any of our readers who entered the drinking age from 2010 onwards, this must seem like a dream.

How the Licencing Act ‘Changed Everything’

Back in 2005, the UK government’s Licencing Act came into effect, essentially making the 11pm last order a thing of the past.  At the time, there were outcries, with one judge even saying that around-the-clock access to alcohol would breed “urban savages”.

However, the truth was that little changed for the pub industry, with bars still subject to local authority rules in most instances.  Now, hospitality chains are given more freedom over their opening times, allowing for far more flexibility on when one can pick up their first round.

Cash is No Longer King

Well, it still is, but it is no longer physical cash. This is a more recent change, but heading to the ATM before walking through the pub’s door is becoming a necessity of the past.  In fact, there is a growing trend towards establishments only accepting cards.

The advent of contactless, combined with the recent pandemic, has sped up the downfall of a cash-in-hand society.  For many paying members of the public contactless has become the expectation, even the norm.

One benefit for bars is the speed of service, as a quick tap of the card is now the only thing between you and your drink of choice.

There are still some lone pubs that are strongholds of the cash-holding era.  One local example is the Brown Bear in Sheffield – a quiet little haunt that doesn’t allow phones, swearing, and only accepts cash.

The Changing Tastes in Cocktails

The cocktail market is an ever-evolving field that is largely influenced by pop culture references and innovations in the drinking industry.  Many are still striving to create the perfect cocktail menu after all this time.

One example is the Old Fashioned, a traditional whisky cocktail made with bitters, soda water, and a simple orange garnish.  This fell out of favour during the tail end of the 20th century but reemerged over the last decade or so thanks to appearances in hit TV shows such as Mad Men.

However, back in the 80s, there were a whole host of popular cocktails that are now absent from our 2023 menus. Here are some of them:

  • Blue Lagoon – This vibrant cocktail is made with vodka, blue curaçao, and lemonade and was a trendy choice in the 1980s.
  • Midori Sour – The Midori Sour comprises of bright green midori liqueur, lemon juice and simple syrup.
  • Grasshopper – The Grasshopper cocktail includes green crème de menthe, white crème de cacao and cream.
  • Harvey Wallbanger – A fun and simple cocktail made of vodka, galliano, orange and lemon juice.
  • Pink Lady – The Pink Lady was typically made with gin, grenadine and egg white.
  • Brandy Alexander – This creamy cocktail combining brandy, crème de cacao, and cream was once a classic choice, particularly in the 1970s and 1980s.


Over the course of all these changes, both big and small, Servaclean has remained a consistent presence in the hospitality market, helping businesses over the past five decades. We are proud to be regarded by many as the industry leader in manufacture, supply and installation of under bar stainless steel structures & fitments and are constantly improving and developing our product range.

The hospitality market will undoubtedly change greatly again over the next thirty-five years. Servaclean is looking forward to seeing the advancement as it unfolds.

At Servaclean, whether you require a full bar system, mobile or portable units for indoor or outdoor use, we have a solution. To find out more, contact us today to speak to our friendly team!

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