Our Story

how we began and where CGA is going

What sets CGA apart?
Our ability to triangulate supply, demand and consumer
data 
to help brands get where they want to be, faster.

Our Story

From a small pub research business to an international data and insight consultancy,  CGA has become the beating heart of the vibrant eating and drinking out market.

1990s

A pub revolution

CGA began life in 1990 at a time of huge change in pubs. The government was breaking what it saw as local monopolies of big brewing companies, leading to the divestment of thousands of pubs around the country. Our founders Martin Curren and Peter Goodden saw the urgent need to track pubs’ changing ownership, and CGA was born officially in 1991.

Pictured: CGA was formed by directors Martin Curren & Peter Goodden (far right)

Our research begins

In a time of scarce internet resources, researching the pub market meant rolling up our sleeves and hitting the road. Our team travelled the length and breadth of the country to visit pubs and trawl handwritten council ledgers and brewers’ estate lists. The result was our Outlet Index: a definitive database of who owned what in the pubs business—and it revolutionized the pub trade’s knowledge.

Pictured: our office technology was at its peak!

The data grows

Before long, the trade urged CGA to expand the Index. We added more licensed premises like restaurants, hotels and nightclubs, and brought in the analysis of drink ranges, prices and much more besides. The resource grew layer by layer throughout the 1990s, and it remains essential to the licensed trade today.

Pictured: CGA moves to Worcester in 1993, featuring our own office bar

 

2000s

A merger and expansion

In 2004 CGA teamed up with research business consultancy Centro to further deepen the knowledge of pub companies and identify new places for them to open. Under the leadership of Jon Collins, it brought together CGA’s definitive map of pub ownership with Centro’s rich data on market dynamics. The result was a one-stop-shop for insights into the drinking-out world.

Pictured: CGA's first Away Day in 2002

Bespoke research

The rich resources meant CGA-Centro could start to offer bespoke research, tailored for the needs of drinks manufacturers and suppliers as well as pub operators. The business evolved into CGA Strategy, a name that indicated how we offer not just numbers but the insights and advice that bring them alive. Just like today, the stats were just the start of the partnership.

Pictured: our original logos from 1991, 2003 and 2006

Our team grows...fast!

CGA’s network of experts grew rapidly throughout the 2000s. We moved from Worcester to the famous Strawberry Studios in Stockport. In came a host of expert researchers: people with an encyclopedic knowledge of the licensed trade, the analytical understanding of the market to unlock our data’s value and the opinions to make them critical and constructive partners of licensed retailers and suppliers.

Pictured: CGA employees at a charity run back in 2007 - many of whom are still here today!

2010s

New services, new markets

Expanding in the face of the economic crisis under Jon Collins and our now group chief executive Phil Tate, CGA honed its field research and introduced new services like our four-weekly On-Premise Measurement and Analytics. With the support of Nielsen, we moved further afield into France and the US, meeting those markets’ needs for detailed and trustworthy research.

Pictured: Nielsen takes an equity stake in CGA in 2009, announcing they will transfer their UK on-trade services to CGA

Adding Peach to the mix

CGA evolved again in 2013 with the acquisition of Peach Factory, a research and events business focused on the casual dining market owned by Peter and Christine Martin. It brought us into even closer contact with the eating-out sector, seamlessly adding vital restaurant and consumer research to our expertise in pubs, bars and clubs.

Pictured: Peter Martin hosting Peach 2020, still our most celebrated industry event of the year

CGA Strategy and CGA Peach combine to CGA

As CGA's presence in the out-of-home market grew and our business evolved over the years, it was time for a change. In 2016, CGA Strategy and CGA Peach were refreshed and rebranded to "CGA", accompanied by a fresh, modern look and logo to reflect who we are today. Our strapline, "Phenomenal Data, Expert Insight" resonates with our company's values and captures our mission to excellent data and insights across all the services we provide.

Pictured: Examples of our new branding

2017-2018

Further growth

In 2017, we acquired Festival Insights, the knowledge hub for the UK festival industry that delivers the prestigious UK Festival Awards and the influential Festival 250 global report. The deal has extended our coverage of out of home eating and drinking, reflecting the rising importance to consumers of live events, pop-ups and street food.

Pictured: UK Festival Awards is the largest industry awards event for festival organisers

CPL Online joins CGA

In early 2018 we grew our family further with the acquisition of CPL Online, the specialist in e-learning and business solutions for the hospitality sector. CPL’s market-leading provision means we now have the most comprehensive and authoritative suite of services in our history—all of them helping our clients to become even better businesses.

Pictured: CPL Online's learning management system (LMS)

Today

Onwards together

From Curren and Goodden to a team of 140, CGA has come a long way.

We sit now in a unique position between the country’s producers, wholesalers, suppliers and retailers—a vantage point from which we enjoy a 360-degree view of eating and drinking out. But we stay close to the ground too, sharing our clients’ passion for their sector. Our purpose remains true to our founding aims: to distil the research we gather into essential facts and expert strategic advice.

We serve a thriving, dynamic industry, and we are proud to be at the heart of it.

Pictured: Graeme Loudon and Jonny Jones, two current employees with long histories at CGA

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