Ever thought about running your own pub?
Items filtered by date: December 2014

Batemans, the family brewer based in Lincolnshire, received the award for ‘Beer of the Festival’ at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival organised by the Greater Manchester branches of CAMRA, for its new Mocha Amaretto beer, from the Bohemian Brews range. 



The award was presented to Stuart Bateman, Managing Director of the brewery, by Graham Donning, the organiser of the festival, at a special ceremony held at The Gateway in Didsbury, Manchester. 

The ‘Beer of the Festival’ was voted for by customers at the festival, and the Batemans Mocha Amaretto proved so popular that it completely sold out on the second day of the event. The Mocha Amaretto beer has an ABV of 6.5%, and is available in 330ml bottles, and by cask for a limited period. A dark beer which undergoes extended maturation to ensure its quality; it is the perfect blend of coffee, almond and chocolate, with an appetising coffee aroma and a delicious, sweet taste. 

Mocha Amaretto is part of the new range of Bohemian Brews, which was launched by Batemans to coincide with its 140th Anniversary. These craft beers are infused with exciting and original flavours, with four different options; Mocha Amaretto, Hazelnut Brownie, Orange Barley and Mocha. They have been created for both beer enthusiasts, and newcomers who want to try something different, with a flavour to suit every palate.  

Graham Donning comments: “Our festival was a huge success this year, with over 10,000 attendees, and more than 40,000 pints of beer, cider and perry consumed over the four days, making this achievement one for Batemans to be very proud of, particularly as it sold out so quickly but was still able to gain enough votes to win.  There was a real buzz around the Mocha Amaretto beer at the festival, and it is a very deserving winner.”

Stuart Bateman adds: “We’re thrilled to have received this award for one of our new Bohemian Brews, which were specially created as part of our anniversary celebrations. We love to experiment with different flavours for our brews, and believe they are a great way to encourage a new audience to enjoy our beers.”


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Following their 1 year anniversary, Robinsons Brewery in Stockport have announced new opening times for their Visit England accredited Visitors Centre.

The Apsley Street conferencing and educational centre, which has welcomed over 10,000 people since its opening in March 2013, has increased the opening hours to cope with the phenomenal demand for its facilities.

Retail Operations Manager, Simon Taylor said: “The positive feedback we’ve received since we opened in March last year has been overwhelming. With a year under our belt, the time felt right to increase our business hours and offer our unique experience to everyone 7 days a week.”

The new opening hours will see the centre open on Mondays for the first time and an additional Sunday tour added to the schedule at 2.30pm.

“Our brewery tours have proven to be a huge success” said Simon. “People love not only learning about Robinsons cask ale but also the growth of an English business that is over 175 years old. It’s been a hit with historians and beer lovers alike." 

The building has hosted over 100 conferences and meetings for local businesses and groups in their Old Tom meeting Room. Just last week, Robinsons also announced the launch of a new conference room aptly named after one of the brewery’s founders; ‘Frederic’s Room’.

"Going forwards we hope to extend our business offering and the launch of our new conference room will help us achieve that,” added Simon.

For tours, enquiries, group bookings or educational visits, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 0161 612 4100, or complete the enquiry form. To keep up-to-date with upcoming events visit: www.robinsonsvisitorscentre.co.uk or follow Robinsons on Facebook www.facebook.com/robinsonsvisitorscentre  

The Visitors Centre is now open the following times:

Opening Times

·         Monday: 10.30am-6pm – Large booking tours only with Conference Facilities and Unicorn Bar open.

·         Tuesday – Saturday: 10.30-6pm

·         Sunday: 10.30-5pm

Food Service Times (Hot Food)

·         Monday – Saturday: 12-5pm

·         Sunday: 12-3.30pm

Tour Times* A tour will typically take between 45- 60 minutes, followed by beer sampling.

·         Monday: Large groups on request

·         Tuesday – Saturday: 11.30am, 1.30pm, 3.30pm

·         Sunday: 12-3.30pm: 12.30pm, 2.30pm (2.30pm tour is a new time slot)


*Evening tours available for large groups on request.

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Robinsons Brewery in Stockport are celebrating 1 year in business for their Visit England accredited Visitors Centre with the launch of a new conference room called ‘Frederic’s Room’; such is the demand.

Since its launch at the end of March 2013, the Apsley Street conferencing and educational centre has welcomed over 10,000 people from all over the world, from local MP’s to the Finnish ambassador, as well as beer fans from Sweden, China, Brazil, and America.

Over the last 12 months, Robinsons have accommodated over 100 conferences and meetings for local businesses and groups in their Old Tom meeting Room, taken over 6000 people on a tour of their brewery, plus they have hosted over 40 bespoke evening tours with between 15 and 80 people. The feedback has been universally positive as can be seen via their Trip Advisor reports.

Robinsons have also hosted a number of pub trips from across their estate; giving customers an insight into the effort that goes into creating the perfect pint.

The restaurant and bar area is proving popular with both regular visitors for lunch or coffee and customers enjoying a meal before or after doing the brewery tour. Over the Christmas period over 400 Christmas meals, incorporating a tour, were enjoyed (that’s a lot of steps when you have just had a turkey dinner).

Commenting on the first year of trading, Business Development Manager, Simon Taylor said: “The feedback we’ve received to date has been overwhelming. In-between brewery tours, sell out Simon Rimmer events, and mixing business with pleasure, we’re delighted to be able to offer our customers another new conferencing facility, complete with disabled access.”

“The Frederic’s Room is a more intimate meeting space and perfect for smaller groups of up to 20, whereas the Old Tom room is superb for larger bookings of 70. Conducting a meeting or seminar in a brewery, and a working one at that, will certainly give business guests something to talk about.  We pride ourselves on offering flexibility and a memorable experience and once you’ve got the business side of things out of the way, you can end the day with a brewery tour and a pint (or two) at the bar. It you haven’t visited yet, what are you waiting for?”

For tours, bookings and enquiries contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 0161 612 4100. To keep up to date with upcoming events at the Visitors Centre visit: www.robinsonsvisitorscentre.co.uk or follow Robinsons on Facebook www.facebook.com/robinsonsvisitorscentre. 

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At the annual Publican Awards ceremony held last night in London, our members scooped 5 wins across the 6 categories entered – with London based Young’s winning two awards, for best Managed Pub Company and Best Food offer for companies with 51 plus sites. Their neighbours Fuller’s won the award for best Tenanted Pub Company (200+ sites) and also secured a highly commended in the best Managed Pub company category.

With Brakspear winning best Tenanted Pub Company (under 200 sites), this saw the family brewers securing the win for tenanted and leased operators in both the two estate size categories, recognising the strength of the relationships they have with their tenants and the support given.

Charles Wells was the other winning member, coming top in the Best Pub Ops team (large) category.

A full list of winners from the night can be found here http://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/General-News/Publican-Awards-2014-Winners-crowned-at-glittering-London-ceremony  


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Tonight sees the annual Publicans Morning Advertiser “Publican Awards”, to celebrate the great British pub and brewing industry. Over 1,200 people will pack into the Grosvenor House Hotel to see this year’s winners collect their awards, at the event hosted by comedian John Bishop.

Family Brewer members Thwaites, Shepherd Neame, Young’s, Fullers, Brakspear, Charles Wells and Wadworth are all finalists, some across more than one category, and up against other pub companies in the 17 categories being contested tonight.

Results will be tweeted during the evening and posted here tomorrow.


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Two AA Inspectors arrived at Arkell’s Brewery recently, but they weren’t there to check on the facilities, but to provide top-notch customer service training to Arkell’s pub staff.

This is all part of a brand new initiative by Arkell’s to boost the levels of customer service offered across is estate of pubs. Run by the Run by AA Hotel Services in conjunction with People 1st Training Company, the  WorldHost customer service training programme was used to train thousands of staff and volunteers for the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympics. Now, Arkell’s is offering the training programme to all its managed houses and tenants pubs.

The AA Inspectors, Garry Baldwin and Stephen Wilkinson, spent time with the first Arkell’s group going through key customer service skills. Garry said: “You can’t teach hospitality, either you’ve got it or you haven’t. What we are doing is fine tuning skills and giving everyone practical advice, tips and hints to make sure that customers are treated well and considerately at all times.”

Garry and Stephen have both experienced poor customer service in their jobs. Garry explained: “I remember two members of a hotel reception complaining that their boss had told them not to ignore guests. Sadly they were completely ignoring me as I waiting to be served. They obviously hadn’t been on our customer service course!”

Stephen added: “Every guest is different so staff must be always alert to different needs and requirements.”

Brewery director, George Arkell, said: “Good customer service is an important element for pubs.  A hearty welcome will keep customers coming back and that’s what we are trying to encourage across our estate of pubs.”

Sharon Glancy, managing director of the People 1st Training Company, added: “Customer service is a big challenge for UK businesses. Almost two-thirds of hospitality businesses say that their staff’s customer handling skills need improving and that’s why we brought WorldHost training to the UK. It’s great to see Arkell’s going the extra mile to invest in their staff’s service skills – customers will be sure to notice the warm welcome they receive!”

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Local Banbury MP, Tony Baldry, was recently presented with a special award from Hook Norton Brewery’s Managing Director, James Clarke, for his work in helping to secure last year’s historic cut in beer duty in the Budget. He was presented with the new ‘Beer Champion’ award and a truly unique new beer was brewed especially for the occasion at the historic Ye Olde Reindeer Inn in Banbury.

The special award is a joint initiative from the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) all of whom wanted to recognize the role of the MP, who supported Britain’s national drink during 2013, especially for his support in scrapping the Beer Duty Escalator, which lead to the momentous cut in Beer Duty. 

Brewing and pubs are vital to the local economy in every part of the country. All three bodies have joined forces again this year, and are campaigning for a freeze in duty in this year’s Budget on 19th March.

Campden BRI which provides research, analysis and consultancy to the brewing industry worldwide, was chosen to create the special limited-edition bottled beer for Parliament. The beer was brewed by Ed Wray, Campden BRI’s brewer and maltster at the company’s brewing division in Nutfield, Surrey.  Ed chose to brew a traditional, British India Pale Ale (IPA) using two new British hops – Jester and Endeavour. The company’s pilot maltings and bottling plant are normally used by companies to assist with new product development, so were ideal for creating this very limited edition ale.

James Clarke, Managing Director of Hook Norton Brewery comments: “I was honored to present the award to Tony Baldry for all his efforts in helping to secure last year’s historic cut in beer duty in the Budget. As a local brewery, we are delighted that we can now look to the future of the UK’s brewing industry.”

Mike Benner, Chief Executive of CAMRA, comments: “This reward recognises Tony Baldry for his invaluable support in the campaign to scrap the beer duty escalator. He really helped in drawing attention to the harm caused by tax increases totaling 42 per cent over four years.”

Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, comments: “I want to thank Tony for making a huge difference in achieving the historic duty cut in 2013. We are delighted to honour this achievement in the best way possible – with a great new beer.”

Keith Bott, SIBA chairman, said, “The small, local brewers, who make up the bulk of SIBA’s membership, applaud the work of Tony in the campaign to scrap the Beer Duty Escalator last year.  Brewers now feel more confident about the future of the UK’s brewing industry, and able to make long term business plans.”

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The Operations Team of Bedford based Charles Wells Pub Company has been shortlisted in The Publican Awards 2014 – a national award scheme for the licensed trade. The Charles Wells team is one of only two finalists in the Best Pub Operations category, for businesses with over 50 pubs, and the overall winner will be announced on 25th March. 

Every pub within the Charles Wells estate has a designated Retail Development Manager who deals with the commercial aspects of their rental agreement and ensures the licensee receives the best possible support to help them grow their business.  This might typically include advising on stocking the best product range, agreeing refurbishment projects and calling in expert advice in areas such as marketing, finance and wine development.   The Retail Development Managers, together with a finance based Business Support Manager, make up the Operations Team. 

Charles Wells Managing Director, Peter Wells commented “Everyone works very hard to make sure licensees who run a Charles Wells Brewery pub receive the best possible support.  Our Retail Development Managers are at the forefront of this drive so it’s great that they’ve been named as one of the best in the country going into these awards.  It can be very difficult for anyone who wants to run their own pub business to differentiate between brewers and pub companies and decide who they would feel confident working with.  This is the latest in a number of awards in which Charles Wells has been recognised for our operational and support services and we hope it helps demonstrate that we do go that bit further than others in working in partnership with our licensees.” 

The company was named Pub Company of The Year at The Publican Awards in 2009 and 2010 and was highly commended in 2011.  It has also won a series of Recruitment and Retention accolades at The Springboard Awards for the hospitality and leisure sector.   

“Over the last couple of years we’ve built up our team to ensure that Charles Wells pub licensees have access to one of the most comprehensive support resources available” continued Peter Wells.  “We’ve invested in the recruitment and development of our Retail Development Managers and they have a lower ratio of pubs to look after than most of our competitors.  This gives them the time they need to spend getting to know the licensee and their business to understand how we can add value and help them grow both sales and profit.  The team has worked hard to reach the standard they have and being shortlisted in The Publican Awards is great recognition for all their achievements so far.” 

The Publican Awards will be announced at a ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel, hosted by comedian John Bishop, on Tuesday 25th March 2014


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In an unprecedented move, McMullen, the family brewer based in Hertford, is looking for successful chefs and budding entrepreneurs to run one of its most prestigious pubs without investing any capital, or paying any rent, utilities or rates.

The Stag, a newly refurbished gastro pub in Heronsgate, near Chorleywood, has recently become available as a result of personal commitments, and is available on its Pub Operators (Franchise) Agreement with no capital required. Since its £120,000 refurbishment, it has proved hugely profitable, trading at around £9,000 a week, with sales up by over 100 per cent in the first year, and 12 per cent so far this year.

The popularity of home-cooked food at this welcoming, stylish, food-led pub makes it an excellent opportunity for a chef or couple who would like to run their own business, but do not have the financial backing to prove their talents. It would also be suitable for enthusiastic entrepreneurs with strong management skills, and an interest in running their own food business.

Furthermore, McMullen is also looking for someone with a strong food background to become the tenant of The Blue Anchor, in St Albans. This pub was previously run by celebrity chef Paul Bloxham, and McMullen is looking to substantially refurbish the kitchen facilities with the right partner. Again, interested parties do not necessarily have to provide considerable capital, but must possess the right skills and attitude for this demanding, yet rewarding opportunity.

Gavin Mansfield, Tenant Operations Manager at McMullen, says: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for a chef who would like to run their own pub but simply has not been given the chance for whatever reasons. The Stag has proved incredibly profitable since its refurbishment, and is sure to continue this success with the right operator. At McMullen, we are looking to work with people who have the right aptitude and ability, not simply the right bank balance.”

Published in News & Case Studies

An enterprising couple have transformed the Castle Hotel in Eynsford with the help of Shepherd Neame.

Licensees Sharon and Gordon Thompson moved in last September, and took a bold approach to their new tenure by closing down for a 14 week, £90,000 refurbishment, jointly funded with the brewery.

Originally known as the Harrow Inn, the historic building dates back to the early 19th century, with the first record of the Castle Hotel in 1904.

Its decor had become tired, but the pub has now been lovingly refurbished to meet the demands of the 21st century customer.

The bar and dining areas have undergone a contemporary yet classic makeover, with comfortable leather Chesterfields sitting alongside re-conditioned furniture in soft tartans. The use of natural materials and subtle stag and antler motifs on cushions and light fittings complete the understated Caledonian chic and feel of a country house hotel.

A trained chef with previous experience as a property developer, Sharon designed and project-managed the refurbishment.

She said: “We have had pubs, restaurants and hotels all over the country for 26 years. We chose to take on this hotel as it is situated in the lovely Darent Valley and we saw the opportunity for a successful hospitality business in beautiful surroundings.

“Our aim was to keep the original features but make it a safe, light airy space.

“In an effort to be accessible, we are open all day, serving food all day, and everyone is welcome, including dogs.”

The couple have created a signature menu for the pub, putting their own spin on classics such as homemade beef burgers and beer battered fish and chips, and introducing a new selection of sweet and savoury sharing platters, all using locally sourced produce.

They are also completely refurbishing the pub’s seven bedrooms, which include standard doubles, a family room and a suite, in keeping with the pub’s contemporary, classic new look.

Gordon and Sharon currently have 10 members of staff, including their three adult children Leanne, Charlie, Elizabeth and teenage daughter Molly, but due to the huge surge in customer demand, are now taking on another trainee chef and more front of house staff.

Sharon added: “We have been incredibly busy since re-opening, but without that investment from Shepherd Neame there’s no way we could have been as successful.

“We were previously at the Kings Head in Wye, also a Shepherd Neame pub, and have been really impressed with how much support the brewery provides for people like us who have an entrepreneurial vision but not enough financial backing to do it on our own.”

Published in News & Case Studies
Page 5 of 7
  • Arkell's Arkell's
  • Batemans Batemans
  • Black Sheep Black Sheep
  • Brakspear Brakspear
  • Charles Wells Charles Wells
  • Bathams Bathams
  • Everards Everards
  • Robinsons Robinsons
  • Fullers Fullers
  • Hall & Woodhouse Hall & Woodhouse
  • Harveys Harveys
  • Holdens Holdens