Fans ensure a roaring trade

Showing their colours: British and Irish Lions supporters in Queenstown. Top, from left, Welshmen Kevin John, Nigel Paul, Ward Smith, Calvin Rees, Mark ord and Paul Healey PICTURES: ODT

Queenstown publicans have been forced to stock up as British and Irish Lions fans pour into the resort’s pubs.

Pog Mahones boss Will Adams says his bar, on Rees Street, has been doing pretty well off the back of the once-every-12-years rugby tour.

It has specifically had to order more kegs of Guinness.

Adams: “You look around the pub and it is just a sea of red.

“Everyone has been really sound – we have more of an older generation so they all have their heads screwed on and it’s been very civilised but great fun.”

Gareth Bull, the new co-owner of Pig & Whistle Pub, on Ballarat St, says it’s also been selling more pints of the black stuff.

Food sales have also increased.

He only took over three weeks ago so doesn’t know if takings are up on July last year.

Punters he’s talked to are spending time and money in town rather than heading up the skifields.

“They come in for lunch and then stay all day.

“It is fantastic to have them in town and as a British pub it is great to be able to support travelling supporters.

“It is a great boost for the business and the town as a whole.”

Bull has seen a real mix of English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh visitors.

Many of the fans are travelling alongside the Lions squad.

The squad had a couple of rest days and a training session in Queenstown this week ahead of this Saturday’s final Test match against the All Blacks at Auckland’s Eden Park.

Fans, with their colours firmly on display, were also enjoying the downtime.

Local muso Marc Hamilton’s Monday shift at Pub on Wharf can be quiet, but this week it was heaving.

“They can put away their drink.

“I thought there would be a few Lions supporters but it was absolutely packed.

“It was fantastic. They’re such a good crowd – I was chatting and bantering with them.

“There’s such a good vibe in town and they’re having an absolute ball here.”