Peterborough drinkers to get first taste of a micro pub

John Lawrence

John Lawrence

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Two beer enthusiasts have unveiled their plans for Peterborough first “micro pub”.

Believing there is a real need in the city for a much more traditional ale house than what is on offer from pubs with big TV screens and noisy background music, Steve Williams and John Lawrence are looking to open their new venture in the summer.

Micro pubs are the new drinking phenomenon spreading throughout the country; the first was set up in Herne, Kent in 2005, and there are now more than 200 all over the UK - including the Prior’s Oven in Spalding and the Cask in Hand in Holbeach.

They are usually a former shop unit, brought back to life for the benefit of locals who enjoy top quality real ales and good conversation.

Steve Williams is a man who knows his real ales, and knows what a proper pint should look and taste like.

He has been involved in the local Campaign for Real Ale group for over 25 years, and manages all the staffing at the Peterborough Beer Festival.

Steve said: “Indifferent service and average beers are just two of my pet hates.

“Peterborough doesn’t have a wealth of great boozers; it does have some really good ones but nowhere near enough.

“I think real ale drinkers deserve much better, and we intend to do something about it.”

John Lawrence re-opened The Crown pub in New England three years ago, and is looking to build on that experience.

John added ‘The Crown is thriving, and has a new manager, and I wish it well.

“I will still visit for the live music, but we want to offer a more dedicated ale house where the drink and the chat come first.”

The pair have the backing from a number of brewers both local and further afield, who plan to offer an ongoing range of exclusive brews.

In addition to the real ales, the venue will offer a range of quality wines, soft drinks with a twist, and premium spirits - including the largest range of malt whiskeys in the area.

They will also offer a “bottle shop”, offering the widest range of quality bottled ales for customers to buy and take home or enjoy in house.

Steve and John say a venue is being finalised, just outside the city centre, and it is hoped it will be open by early summer.

Peterborough branch CAMRA spokesman Mike Blakesley said: “New research by CAMRA released to mark the launch of the Good Beer Guide 2016, shows 70% of all pubs now serve real ale, compared to just a third when the book was first published in 1975.

“Rather than just traditional pubs going back to their roots though, it seems a different type of drinking establishment is gaining momentum and getting real ale into thirsty drinkers’ hands: The micropub.

“The growth of micropubs has helped to get real ale into spaces a traditional pub couldn’t fit, filling the gaps on our high streets and improving choice for beer drinkers.”

Roger Protz, Editor of the Good Beer Guide 2016 says: “Micropubs prove the old saying that ‘small is beautiful’. Many of them are based in disused buildings, they have low overheads and can offer beer at sharper prices than many traditional pubs. They have carved out a new relationship between drinkers, publicans and brewers.”