A recent study has shown that the number of rural pubs in Scotland is falling at an alarming rate, with a warning that innovation is needed for them to survive.
The study has shown that in England, local community pubs are doing much better than their counterparts north of the border. The reason for this is said to be largely down to publicans there coming up with new ideas to attract custom.
In Scotland though, many publicans have claimed that the large price gap between their prices and those of off-licences is a major reason for declining customers. The limited selection of beer has also been cited.
Finding that a quarter of all customers in local pubs are now female, the report commissioned by the brewer Molson Coors said part of the answer was for pubs to shift their reliance on traditional customers.
Rather than tailor the service for middle-aged men, new initiatives such as the introduction of film nights, language classes and other activities could be offered. It is all about appealing to as wide an audience as possible.
In turn, this could help secure higher levels of commercial finance. In Scotland, this remains a problem for pubs and clubs looking to extend their function, though factoring and invoice discounting services are helping in some circumstances.
The research, which was conducted by CR Consulting, found that more than 700 community pubs in Scotland had closed in the last five years. In the same time period, just 55 have opened.