Mr. Pickwick Pub history
In 1968, the prominent British beer brewery “Bass Charrington“arrived in Switzerland and entered a joint-venture with a Swiss company (later to be named Gastrag) with the aim of establishing a chain of English-styled pubs. The first Mr. Pickwick Pub was opened in Geneva in 1969 followed by the Oliver Twist Pub in Zurich in 1970. After naming two pubs after books written by the English 19th century author, Charles Dickens, it was then decided to build on the brand name “Mr. Pickwick”.
In 1979, the British brewery decided to pull out of Switzerland and as a result, GASTRAG was able to purchase the Mr. Pickwick Pubs.
During the period 1980-1992 the pub sector boomed and the strategy was to make the name “Mr. Pickwick Pub“ a household name throughout Switzerland, as a result pubs sprang up almost everywhere!
During the period 1992-2000 the pubs entered a challenging phase. As it is often the case with expansion strategies the target market of the brand was redefined, which in hindsight resulted in the erosion of the original concept of an English-styled pub. The decision was taken to sell the pubs in the West of Switzerland (however, there is still currently a very well-known and successful Mr. Pickwick Pub in Geneva), so as to concentrate on the German-speaking part of Switzerland and to concentrate only on those locations that met the target market requirements of the brand.
As a result in the year 2000 the brand underwent a re-launch, “Back to the roots”, to ensure the return of an authentic English-styled pub brand. The result has been tremendous and the chain, although smaller, has taken on a whole new life. We thank all those involved!