From a boutique research agency to an international data & insight consultancy, CGA has become the beating heart of the vibrant eating & drinking out market.
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 & Peter Goodden saw the urgent need to track pubs’ changing ownership, & CGA (standing for "Curren Goodden Associates") was born officially in 1991.
A PUB REVOLUTION
In a time of scarce internet resources, researching the pub market meant rolling up our sleeves & hitting the road. Our team travelled the length and breadth of the country to visit pubs & trawl handwritten council ledgers & brewers’ estate lists. The result was our Outlet Index: a definitive database of who owned what in the pubs business—& it revolutionized the pub trade’s knowledge.
OUR RESEARCH BEGINS
Before long, the trade urged CGA to expand the Index. We added more licensed premises like restaurants, hotels & nightclubs, & brought in the analysis of drink ranges, prices & much more. The resource grew layer by layer throughout the 1990s, & it remains essential to the licensed trade today.
THE DATA GROWS
In 2004 CGA teamed up with research business consultancy Centro to further deepen the knowledge of pub companies & 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 On trade world.
THE MERGER & EXPANSION
The rich resources meant CGA-Centro could start to offer bespoke research, tailored for the needs of drinks manufacturers & 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 & advice that bring them alive. Just like today, the stats were just the start of the partnership.
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 On trade market to unlock our data’s value & the opinions to make them critical & constructive partners of licensed retailers and suppliers.
OUR TEAM GROWS
Expanding in the face of the economic crisis under Jon Collins & our now group chief executive Phil Tate, CGA honed its field research & introduced new services like our four-weekly On-Premise Measurement & Analytics. With the support of Nielsen, we moved further afield into France & the US, meeting those markets’ needs for detailed & trustworthy research.
NEW SERVICES, NEW MARKETS
CGA evolved again in 2013 with the acquisition of Peach Factory, a research & events business focused on the casual dining market owned by Peter & Christine Martin. It brought us into even closer contact with the eating-out sector, seamlessly adding vital restaurant & consumer research to our expertise in pubs, bars & clubs.
ADDING PEACH TO THE MIX
As CGA's presence in the out-of-home market grew & our business evolved over the years, it was time for a change. In 2016, CGA Strategy & CGA Peach were refreshed & rebranded to "CGA", accompanied by a fresh, modern look & logo to reflect who we were at this point in time.
CGA STRATEGY COMBINES WITH CGA PEACH
In 2017, we acquired Festival Insights, the knowledge hub for the UK festival industry that delivers the prestigious UK Festival Awards & the influential Festival 250 global report. The deal has extended our coverage of out-of-home eating & drinking, reflecting the rising importance to consumers of live events, pop-ups & street food.
In 2018, we grew our family further with the acquisition of CPL Online, the specialist in e-learning & business solutions for the hospitality sector. A year later, we welcomed CPL Training to the fold. CPL Training Group is the leading provider of licensed retail & hospitality training in the UK. CPL’s market-leading hospitality training means we now have the most comprehensive & authoritative suite of services in our history—all of them helping our clients to become even better businesses across the On trade.
CPL ONLINE & CPL TRAINING JOIN CGA
From Curren and Goodden to a team of 180, CGA has come a long way. We sit now in a unique position between producers, wholesalers, suppliers & retailers—a vantage point from which we enjoy a 360-degree view of eating & 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 & expert strategic advice. We serve a thriving, dynamic industry, and we are proud to be at the heart of it!
To learn more about how CGA can help your business (in any market), please get in touch.