I was made aware of a personal anniversary recently: five years since I left my last job and started at Inapub.

Nothing overly exciting about that apart from, perhaps, the chance it gives for a moment of reflection on that time passed.

A lot has changed in the world of pubs in those five years and, if you add five more, you could argue that the industry has never gone through such a period of change.

Food is obviously very high on that list. From being, at best, a minor reason to visit a pub it has propelled itself to centre stage. People's habits are changing so quickly, now they want to eat on the run at any time of day.

Kitchens that close for long stretches will miss out and pubs that do no food at all must have a compelling offer to entice people in.

But some manage it, notably the specialist beer houses. When I started writing about beer it was considered to be little more than a scourge on society, the fuel of binge-drinking sessions that left destruction and mess across the country in its wake.

Now beer is almost impossibly cool. Partly because, along with tattoos, hipsters have decided it is no longer the preserve of the working classes. Partly because we are impossibly influenced by our American cousins but mainly because brewers, of all sizes, are becoming increasingly creative and providing a thirsty public with an array of amazing brews.

Publicans too are upping their game. The days of opening up and watching the money pour in as lager poured out of the taps are long gone, along with smoking and separate areas for the wives and kids.

These days licensees have to work so much harder to attract and keep an ever-demanding public satisfied, which means the trade is attracting a different type of operator.

There have always been sharp-minded licensees but now there are more and from a variety of backgrounds. Making a pub business work requires creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, which is why so many have been attracted to the trade.

Younger people are seeing the potential too. There are more and more people under the age of 40 running pubs. We are looking forward to meeting many at our Next Generation events – if you fit the bill make sure you are there too.

There is much more that has changed too: design, cleanliness, the power of social media, the importance of accommodation and training standards to name but a few areas.

Yet there is also much more to do, particularly in attracting chefs and younger people to see the pub game as more than that, to see it as a viable career.

I know from a licensee's perspective things have got harder but the benefit is for the pub customer, like me, for I truly believe we have never had it so good.

Pubs have evolved to maintain their position at the heart of social occasions. Long may they continue to do so.