Why Coventry needs a micro pub

Two pints of Lancaster Bomber - photo by Dudesleeper courtesy of Wiki Commons

Two pints of Lancaster Bomber – photo by Dudesleeper courtesy of Wiki Commons

Micro pubs are undoubtedly on the up. Defined by the Micro Pub Association as “a small freehouse which listens to its customers, mainly serves cask ales, promotes conversation, shuns all forms of electronic entertainment and dabbles in traditional pub snacks”, the attraction of a focus on beer and conversation is definitely apparent. There are now 175 micro pubs listed by the Association – a number that only surpassed 100 very recently.

There are micro pubs in Nuneaton, Rugby and Leicester – with other micro breweries in Warwick, and even Twisted Barrel Ale’s home at FarGo Village in Coventry. But the city itself doesn’t have a specific micro pub.

Graham Paine, of Coventry CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) says that the reason Coventry doesn’t have a micro pub within its borders is a difficult one. “You need someone with the time, energy, enthusiam, money and knowledge to succeed, as well, crucially, as the correct premises and location. When all these come together then Coventry will acquire one,” he says. “It is to be hoped that the Chancellor will take the opportunity to cut the duty on beer by a further penny in his forthcoming budget, although previous good work in this area has been counteracted to a great extent by pubcos and breweries putting up their prices by a greater amount than a penny despite inflation being at historically low levels.”

Coventry CAMRA continues to support local brewery Twisted Barrel Ale by publicising their events, taking their beers to beer festivals and hosting some meetings at the premises in FarGo Village.

A question could be raised about whether it’s a massive risk to open a micro pub, especially in the current climate. According to CAMRA, 29 pubs across the country close every week.

The Needle & Pin in Loughborough, Leicestershire is evidence of micro pubs being successful – and it’s only been open for four months. Boasting a whole host of local ales, ciders and wines, there is a strong emphasis on communication. There’s even a record player, and a local independent pizza restaurant delivers to the pub. Oh, and it’s dog friendly (a massive winner).

101 barrels (firkins) in 10 weeks….

Posted by The Needle & Pin on Sunday, 28 February 2016

Inside The Needle & Pin micro pub in Loughborough. Photo from the official Facebook page

Inside The Needle & Pin micro pub in Loughborough. Photo from the official Facebook page

Sean O’Neill, of The Needle & Pin, says that while Loughborough is a large university town and they see many students, their main market is 30+ who enjoy a quality drink and conversation. “I think the pubs that are closing are doing so for a reason, primarily that they and their owners have failed to adapt to the changing needs of consumers,” he says. “These new places opening, and Micropubs is a key part of this, are thriving because they are meeting a need.

“We have a very loyal customer base who return time and time again. The fact that we only have 1 barrel of every beer means that people know there will always be something different when they come in.”

It’s clear that Coventry is missing out – real ale is a real issue, and a micro pub is the best place to (responsibly) appreciate these drinks in a brilliant atmosphere. Fingers crossed it happens sooner rather than later…

Jessica Allen

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