Hop Presshops Hop Press Issue 53 front cover

Issue 53 – April 2003


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EDITORIAL Hop Press index

The media frenzy that was the war served to completely bury an event that normally dominates our press and TV - the budget.

Gordon once again adopted the shortsighted, short-term policy on excise taxes that we have come to expect - the "1p on a pint" lie. A lie, of course, because it is not a penny on your pint, it is 3p-4p on your pint bought over the bar. This continues the huge disparity that exists across a few miles of the channel and can give nothing but comfort to the enormous 'white van' trade in smuggled 'little green men.'

For decades we have been signed up to the European principles of duty harmonisation but so far have done absolutely nothing towards achieving it. On a pint of 5% abv beer we will now pay a tax of 33.8p, in France it is just 4.5p and Germany as little as 3.3p! Of the fifteen nations only Finland (50.1p) and Ireland (34.8p) have taxes as bad as ours.

Laudably, Denmark, which entered the EU with duties much higher than ours, have been reducing them year on year until they are now down to 16.3p for the equivalent 5% abv pint. They have found no economic problems with their policy; there is a lesson here Mr Brown...

The public have, in effect, a fixed amount of 'discretionary money' to be used on pleasure activities - broadly, if pub prices go up 10% then drink sales go down about 10% to leave the total spend the same. The Chancellor does not get any substantial increase in overall revenue. The real sufferers are the small brewers. With falling volumes the big brewers become ever more protective of their markets and the small fry, without much economic muscle, are excluded ever more viciously.

From the actions of National Government to those of the local variety, to be precise, those often faceless functionaries 'the planners.' The local CAMRA Branch, Southern Hampshire, has had to be very active of late in responding to what seems like a deluge of planning applications, to de-licence pubs and to change pubs detrimentally. The deliberations of the Council meetings concerning several of these are described on later pages of this edition.

The spate of applications for 'change of use' from business - a pub - to private dwelling, in other words to de-licence the pub, raises many fundamental points of principle, even of human rights. This area of planning legislation needs considerable rethinking.

For example, there is no legal requirement for a pub, before it is to be de-licensed, to be put on to the open market. CAMRA believes that every pub in such circumstances should be subject to an independent 'test of viability' before an application can even be considered. CAMRA nationally, in conjunction with some planning lawyers, has drawn up the framework for such a test and is lobbying to have this included in Government's planning policy guidelines.

In addition we are lobbying Government to close another glaring planning loophole that has had devastating effects in many recent cases. Businesses are classified under a number of planning categories and to change category requires a planning application. A shoe shop is category A1, as are other ordinary shops so to change it to a clothes shop needs no planning permission. Pubs are category A4 but, unfortunately, so are restaurants and some other food outlets - no planning whatsoever is needed to change an historic old pub into a transport café.

Even more outrageously, there is another obscure planning implement called a 'permitted development order' which allows for use to change even between classes without any application, in some circumstances these allow pubs to be converted into office units without any Council deliberations and without any route customers or other interested parties take to make representations.

Several world famous London pubs, including the Rose of Denmark in Barnes and the King's Head and Eight Bells in Chelsea have just succumbed to un-discussed changes and are now upmarket restaurants.

However, Government is currently reviewing use classes and Prescott's Parliamentary Private Secretary, Tony McNulty, has said that they are minded to give pubs and bars their own use class. Ironically their reasoning seems to be to counter the conversion of cafés into town-centre bars. But this gives us an opportunity try to ensure that conversions in the other direction are taken as seriously and also to try to persuade legislators that permitted development orders should not be allowed to apply to pubs.

There is now a two month period when the Government is seeking public comments, get writing in! The review is being conducted by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, send letters to:

Mr McNulty at ODPM,
Dover House,

or ask your MP to pass them on. Alternatively the ODPM can be reached via their web site: www.odpm.gov.uk 

We seem to have returned again to National Government and this may be an opportunity to mention more legislation that is going to have an enormous effect on pubs and pub-goers - the new Licensing Bill. This Bill, oddly, is going through its processes in a somewhat reverse order, it has had weeks of discussion in the Lords and after its third reading there it is now in a committee stage before proceeding to the Commons at the start of summer. It should be law by the end of the summer.

Its effects will be so far reaching that there will be at least a twelve month transitional period whilst all of its provisions are brought into play - an article later in this edition attempts to give some inkling into the vast ramifications the law will have when it arrives - but it is so comprehensive that there will certainly be a host of unforeseen consequences that will take years to iron out via case law. But, from mid-2004, look for vast changes.


UNCANNY, OR WHAT? Hop Press index

Pat O'Neill

Back in the summer I happened to be at a loose end, down in deepest Dorset and adjacent to a Badger pub. So a leisurely pint of IPA seemed in order. The pub was very sparsely occupied and the barman was quietly reading, leaving his volume of interest on the bar as he went to the pump to serve me. Even viewed upside-down from where I was standing the page immediately grabbed my attention - it was like the surprise of catching sight of an old friend in an unfamiliar crowd.

As I supped my pint standing at the bar, the barman was reluctant to continue his reading and busied himself with little items of tidying and housekeeping, which gave me the opportunity of examining his book. He was clearly a diligent servant since rather than a best seller it was more a 'best cellar' - it was the Hall & Woodhouse Management of Beer & Soft Drinks Manual, not a volume on everyone's shelves. But the page I was looking at was on my home shelves, in the shape of CAMRA's Cellarmanship, a book that I had both written and illustrated, with its first edition way back in 1981.

The page that had caught my eye was the illustration of a cellar device called a 'syphon.' I studied the page closely and resolved to enquire of the supposedly honourable Hall & Woodhouse Company, how this could have come about.

Months passed without reply but then eventually came an answer from the managing director, Mr David Woodhouse. "...our diagram is different from yours" David asserts confidently, but then, just to hedge his bets he continues with a somewhat apologetic "surely if your diagram is of help to the industry ... you should be promoting its use..."

As a 'spot the differences' exercise for readers, I have reproduced these two very different diagrams, theirs on the left and mine on the right - I think, David, that you might owe me a pint!

picture comparision
(click picture for larger version)



Rob Whatley

When the new micro-brewery revolution really began to take off in the 1980s, these brewers concentrated on trying to sell their beers to nearby free houses. The 'guest beer law,' introduced in 1990, then gave the new breweries the opportunity to get their beers into the tenanted pubs of the big national brewers. In recent years the numbers of both of these potential outlets have been greatly reduced. Many free houses, especially the limited number in Hampshire, have been bought by either regional breweries such as Gales and Wadworth or by the new giant pub chains. These pub chains are now running the majority of the pubs in England, as the big brewers have disposed of their estates. This has been a double blow for the small independents. Firstly, as the pubs are no longer owned by brewers, the guest beer rules have lapsed. Secondly, though in theory these pubs are now free houses, in most cases the management of the chains place huge restrictions on the choice of beers that their licensees can offer.

One way that some small breweries have sought to maintain their beer sales, in the face of shrinking markets, has been to buy their own pubs.

Most of our local small breweries concentrated primarily on brewing in their early days but over the past few years many have been slowly building up pub estates. Ringwood Brewery, who celebrate their 25th anniversary this year, opened their first pub, the Inn on the Furlong in their home town, in the mid-eighties and shortly afterwards the Porterhouse in Westbourne, Bournemouth. Recently, the gradual loss of other outlets has led Ringwood to increase its tied estate, all in Dorset. The Boot, Weymouth in 1998, the Drovers Arms, Gussage All Saints in 2000, the Angel Inn, Poole in 2002 and most recently the Crown in Winterborne Stickland. Ringwood Brewery is actively looking to increase its estate with a gradual expansion through the purchase of individual pubs. It is especially keen to get a larger foothold in Hampshire but waiting for the right pubs at realistic prices is a lengthy task. For details of the Ringwood estate, visit their web site at: www.ringwoodbrewery.co.uk

The Cheriton Brewhouse has never had any tied pubs since its inception in 1993. This may be a surprise to those who have visited the Flower Pots pub but the brewery is a completely separate business. Although not strictly tied houses, the owners of the Flower Pots have now formed their own 'nano' pub chain with the purchase of the Wheatsheaf at Shedfield, where Cheriton beers can be found, along with the beers of other local breweries.

Triple fff Brewery only started brewing in 1997 but quickly built up a strong following for its distinctive beers, which achieved national recognition when two of its beers, Pressed Rat & Warthog and Moondance, won their categories in the 2002 Champion Beer of Britain competition, held at Olympia, with Moondance coming third overall in the final. The brewery purchased its first pub last year, the Railway Arms in Alton. Details can be found on their web site: www.triplefff.com

An even more recent recruit to Hampshire's brewing scene is Gosport's Oakleaf Brewery. It has quickly gained a fine reputation for the quality of its beers, winning many awards, including 2002 Champion Beer of Hampshire for the 4.7% abv Hole Hearted. The brewery does not have any tied houses as such but the brewer Ed Anderson, together with his wife Gail, run the Hole in the Wall in Southsea, where the brewery's products are always available. Ed's business partner and father-in-law, Dave Pickerskill, together with his wife Lynn also run a pub where Oakleaf beers are the staple offering, the Winchester Arms, at Buckland, in Portsmouth. While all the brewing is at the Clarence Wharf Industrial Estate, in the early days beer was also produced on a small plant at the nearby Clarence Hotel. The pub still sells a good range of Oakleaf beers but has no direct connections with the brewery. Oakleaf's web site is: www.oakleafbrewing.co.uk

In Wiltshire, the local new brewery with the biggest estate is Hop Back. Founded by John Gilbert in 1987, Hop Back has been in the tied estate business from the start, as the first brewery was located at his pub, the Wyndham Arms in Salisbury. We are lucky enough to have one of the first tied pubs in our area, the Waterloo Arms at Freemantle in Southampton. Other long standing tied pubs include: the Sultan, Wimbledon, the Hop Leaf, Reading, the Jolly Farmer, Weybridge, and the Bull Hotel, Downton, close to the site of the current brewery. More recent additions, which continue to follow the brewery's rule of buying pubs within site of hundreds of chimney pots, are the Coronation in Bristol and, in 2002, the Dolphin, near the station in Weymouth. Details of all are on their web site at: www.hopback.co.uk

There is another Hampshire contender in this group, although it does not strictly meet the criteria. The Red Shoot at Linwood in the New Forest has a small brewery, built in 1998. The beers are predominantly sold in the pub but some production also goes into the estate of Wadworth, the Red Shoot's owners. The pub is hard to find, see the web site at: www.redshootinn.com [Link no longer works -- Ed]

As yet the other new Hampshire breweries such as Itchen Valley, Portchester, Becketts and Hampshire, have not ventured into the tied house market. Although there is no suggestion at present that they will start, the ever decreasing opportunities to sell beer through free houses and tenanted pubs may force a change of mind. Ideally the Government will introduce legislation similar to the Beer Orders that would cover the new pub chains, as campaigned for by SIBA and CAMRA. This happy, but unlikely, event would open a vast new market and give drinkers many more chances to sample the fine small brewers' beers.


RESULT, 12-1 Hop Press index

Pat O'Neill

In January, for the second time in a year, the Shearers' Arms in Owslebury, put in a planning application to the Winchester City Council for a 'change of use' to a private dwelling.

The Shearers is a member of a very endangered species - a genuinely free house, owned by the landlord. In this case Mr Sutherden who, now in his sixties, has held the licence for several decades and claims that he would like to just close down and live in retirement.

Whilst one can have much sympathy with such sentiments (although Mr Sutherden employing the help of a company whose objectives include appraising property development potential does give leave for thoughts) there are crucial matters of principle at stake. The Shearers' Arms has been a pub for more than three centuries and to own such a part of the nation's heritage brings with it a great duty, to see it pass into the future for further generations of pub goers to enjoy.

The problem that bedevils decisions of this sort are the extraordinary 'values' of rural residential property in southern Hampshire - a pub that might be valued as a business at £300,000 could very likely fetch more than £500,000 as a private house. Such a colossal gain from a single administrative decision must rightly be very tempting! There is also an obvious, unwelcome pressure on the Planning Authorities when making these decisions.

The application came before the committee on March 26th, with CAMRA as the only objector present (the Parish Council had objected but withdrew this after being lobbied by the landlord's advisory company). The planning officers also changed their initial view and recommended approval.

But the committee came up trumps. After hearing our plea to retain this piece of the country's heritage their deliberations focussed on the vital fact that not only had the pub not been offered on the market but that specific offers had been turned down out of hand. They threw out the application by twelve votes to one, the sole supporter being the committee chairman. Well done Winchester planners.

It is too early to say how this matter will finally end, unfortunately there is nothing in law to prevent Mr Sutherden just closing his door and living on in a ghost pub - the business rates would still be due and no developments would be allowed but there have been cases where owners have taken this last stand position. We hope Mr Sutherden will sell to a new entrepreneur and then use the proceeds for a well-earned retirement.

Two other, more publicised, applications are in the process of being reviewed: the Bugle at Hamble and the Sir Walter Tyrrell in the Forest. Both are being pushed by a property company - we, with many others, are objecting, decisions are expected in May.


RESULT, 0-6  Hop Press index

Pat O'Neill

Democracy is a delicate flower and it looked pretty near to withering at the April 3rd meeting of the Eastleigh Local Area Planning Committee for Hamble, Hound and Bursledon.

First item on the agenda was an application from Dorset brewers Hall and Woodhouse for listed building consent to alter the internal arrangements at the famous Jolly Sailor in old Bursledon. The plans for this application were the third version since the Badger brewers first revealed their intentions to ruin this famous old riverside inn - the first two versions were rejected as a result of CAMRA's campaigning opposition. Not so lucky this time however.

Although 43 written objections had been received (with not one letter of support) and including one from the former owners, the Bursledon Parish Council had opposed and a 750 name petition had gone to the brewery (and been ignored); the 'case officer' still recommended acceptance.

To start the discussion, the case officer (Miss Dawn Errington) outlined the case for the proposal - a procedure that seemed to involve simply transcribing paragraphs from a Hall and Woodhouse letter as her 'judgement.' As an astonishing interlude she displayed several colour photos of the pub's interior, whilst conveniently omitting to mention that these were CAMRA's own pictures, sent to make a point in our objection!

CAMRA were the only objectors present at the meeting and the auguries looked ill from the start - the chairman having no reference to our intention to attend, despite our having visited the Eastleigh Civic Offices specifically to register this.

Only five minutes are allowed to present reasons for opposition but it was clear that even this was too long for the attention spans of several of the councillors present who spent the time with their agenda papers. Mr Hoare, the brewery representative, gave a fascinating, if irrelevant, discourse on why the brewery could be completely trusted, since the Government had awarded them the contract to restore a bar in Whitehall; bizarre...

There followed the 'debate,' which is where the democracy should come in; to call it puerile would be to dignify it. The first speaker, clearly an aficionado of the Harvester ethos, thought it would be 'nice to see the pub neat and tidy.' Another had never been to the pub and wanted to stay in that state of grace. A third responded to our practical suggestion that they should visit the pub to see its present charms by making a pathetic joke. Just one of these elected (!) people's representatives asked one question about a point of planning policy that we had raised, but Miss Errington brushed him aside, asserting that we were neither quoting correctly nor in context (despite the quote coming from her very own report). Six bored votes doomed the Jolly Sailor. Shame on you, Eastleigh, the public deserve better than this.


REGIME CHANGE Hop Press index

Pat O'Neill

Present licensing laws are a hotchpotch of dozens of Acts of Parliament dating back in some cases a century or more - not just alcohol licences but also those for public entertainment, theatres and cinemas, even late-night takeaway joints. All of these disparate subjects for various forms of 'licence' will be embraced in one overarching, comprehensive scheme.

The Bill to accomplish this and to sweep away scores of other separate Acts is working its way through Parliament at present and looks set to receive the Queen's signature before autumn. Some of the key features of the 160 page Bill are:

• For the first time in hundreds of years the magistracy will lose its involvement in licensing. All licence matters will be under the control of local authorities - every Council will be required to appoint a licensing committee, much like their present planning committees, with its appropriate officers. The only future court involvement will be from the Crown Court as final arbiter for disputes and appeals.

• The myriad of separate licences currently needed for all the various activities that are considered wicked enough or pleasurable enough to need society's regulation will be reduced, essentially, to just two! The two have very different characteristics.

• The first is the Premises Licence. As its name suggests, this relates to a specific place or building and the licence specifies the totality of activities that can occur in it. To be granted a Premises Licence, the owner or operator of the premises must present the local authority committee with an operating schedule setting out all the details of how the building might be used.

For example, a pub would say it wishes to sell (on and off sales) all types of alcoholic drink between specified times for specified days. It would probably also say it will have musical entertainment, TV displays and maybe even 'late-night' food supply. The requested hours can be any or all of the 24 although the committees will be minded to give consideration to location and amenity before allowing very extended hours. All days are equal; Sundays will no longer have any special significance. One item that is not yet specifically clear in the Bill is the present concept of 'drinking up time.' It looks as though the operator can decide on any length (or even none, as pre-1964!), but this must be added to the requested hours in the schedule. So a pub wanting to stay open until midnight and then have a half-hours worth of drinking-up would apply for 12.30 am closing.

Once granted, the premises licence has no expiry date, it remains in force until either an application is made to modify it or, in the event of some serious illegality, it is revoked after police intervention.

Where the Premises Licence involves the sale of alcohol (and only in this case) there also has to be a Designated Premises Supervisor, a named person who would normally be perhaps the pub tenant or manager, a hall manager, a Parish Councillor in charge of the village hall etc. The Designated Premises Supervisor must hold a Personal Licence - see below.

• The Personal Licence is the second leg of this vast Bill. To apply for it one must be over 18, satisfy a check by the Criminal Records Bureau and possess an accredited licensing qualification (for example, a British Institute of Innkeeping course certificate). If these conditions are met, there is a 'presumption to grant,' there will not be the present rather woolly and arbitrary requirement to prove one's 'good character.'

Quite unlike the present system, where all alcohol licences are tied to the region of the local magistrates' bench, a Personal Licence holder will be able to operate anywhere (in England and Wales, the Bill will not cover Scotland or Northern Ireland). The initial grant will be for ten years and with the 'presumption to renew' if no offences have been committed.

Personal Licence holders will be registered on a national data base, administered by a new Government agency, the Central Licensing Authority.

• A major area of present alcohol control that is swept away is the concept of the 'extension.' There will no longer be a requirement for a landlord to apply for an extra hour for the darts presentation night or for a club to get special hours for its annual ball. However, the operating schedules for these premises will need to include enough suitable details to include any of these types of event in their Premises Licences. For totally one-off events that could not be anticipated enough to include in an operating schedule, there is a solution provided by something called a Temporary Event Notice.

• The Temporary Event Notice allows anyone to run a function of up to three days duration and catering for up to 500 people on any premises. A Temporary Event Notice is, as the name suggests, a notice given to the local authority, detailing one's intention to do something - it is not an application for permission. Providing the event organiser sticks to simple guidelines laid down in the Bill there will be no grounds for the authority to object.

'TENs' will take the place of the present one-off licences that landlords use for outside bars, weddings etc. They will also be the replacement for the 'occasional permissions' currently used by non-licence holders for school fetes, folk festivals, beer festivals etc.

This article only scratches the surface of this giant piece of legislation, and as it is still wending its tortuous way through Parliament, it may yet acquire more changes before it passes into law.

If anyone would like to see the Bill in its full majesty it is on the Government's web site: www.parliament.uk. Click on the links: 'Bills before Parliament' then 'Public Bills before Parliament' and then down the list to 'Licensing Bill (HL).'


PUB NEWS Hop Press index

Rob Whatley

We start with the latest news on the Borough of Eastleigh's march towards temperance area status. An attempt by Eastleigh Borough Council to have the Lamp and Mantle at West End listed failed so there was little alternative in planning terms but to grant permission for it to be torn down and the building of 38 flats on the site. Despite petitions containing almost 1,000 signatures, the nearby Sportsman is also to be replaced, this time by 53 flats. As is usually the case with boarded-up pubs, it was hit by a fire in March, before building work had started.

Moving to the north of the Borough, the initial application to build 37 flats on the site of the Ashdown Arms was rejected as 'over development.' Councillors want to see the scheme reduced to just two storeys as a replacement for the pub that for most of its life was called the Tabby Cat (although universally known to customers as the Scabby Rat). Built in the 1960's, this pub must have had one of the shortest lives as a hostelry of any in the area.

Now the latest threat to Eastleigh's drinkers comes in Hamble, where the future of the Bugle is under threat. An application has been made to convert the main pub into a dwelling and demolish the restaurant area and replace it and the car park with 13 three storey dwellings. The pub is owned by Highclere Estates who reportedly want to sell the pub because it is not making money. Strange then that an advertisement for the pub that appeared in the March 20th edition of the Southampton Advertiser contained the following: "The Sunday carvery is incredibly popular ... the restaurant is currently fully booked every Sunday lunchtime for the next month"

The pub is still leased by the SFI group, which in the last year has hit financial difficulties, with its shares being suspended. It was reported in February that the group was considering disposals. Is it just coincidence then that at the same time that the Bugle was found to be nonviable the same claim was also made for the Sir Walter Tyrrell, by the Rufus Stone in the New Forest, which also leased by SFI?

A review of the pub that appeared in the Southern Daily Echo earlier this year mentioned its dining area, "which even on a quiet midweek evening was fairly busy." But despite this apparent good trading, an application has been made to convert the pub into a dwelling. A subsequent application is seeking permission for two more houses adjoining the pub. As mentioned earlier in this issue, we are fighting both applications.

It is not only in Eastleigh that the pubs are making way for housing. In Southampton too the trend continues, but in most cases they are pubs for which few tears will be shed by discerning drinkers. The Boundary, in Maybush, is to be converted into an apartment block with up to 15 flats. A smaller conversion to flats has been completed at the former Oxford pub in St. Mary's. Another city hostelry that may contain more housing but remain open is the Stoneham Arms in Bassett. Permission has been sought for four flats and an office on the first and second floors.

Staying with the Stoneham name, Legends in Bevois Valley, which for most of its life was known as the Stoneham Inn, has been granted permission to transform the inside of the pub. The changes, which involve moving the bar, will mean that the pub will be closed for a number of weeks. The exterior of the pub will also change, with the installation of illuminated signs. Also undergoing structural changes is the Waterloo Arms in Freemantle. A conservatory is being added to the rear of the pub, to replace the tent that was there previously; the kitchen facilities are also to be improved. The Hop Inn, Bitterne Park is also to be refurbished after the original plans were put on hold when the pub suffered a fire in June last year. Work is taking place at the Royal Standard, the pub built into the city walls, which has been closed for some time. When it reopens the emphasis will be more on the food trade than before.

Alterations to a city centre pub were completed in November after the former Tavern in the Town, which opened as the Goose and Granite in 1996, was transformed into a 1970's theme pub (!), Flares. The advert for the reopening stated that Wednesdays are YMCA night. It would be interesting to see whether a customer who went to the venue straight from a building site would be refused entry for wearing work clothes or be allowed in for dressing in tribute to the Village People. Another city pub to change its name, but apparently little else, is the Rat & Parrot in Commercial Road, which now goes under the banner of Encore, presumably due to its location next to the Mayflower Theatre. Just opposite, the one-time church, then Cloisters is to reopen as Joe Daflo's Café-Bar In Maybush, the pub named after the city suburb has had a trim and reopened as the Bush.

The changes to the name and nature of what is now Flares may be a sign of an end of growth of city centre mega-pubs. The parent company of Brannigans bar in the High Street have been placed into receivership. The bar, which opened only two years ago, is one of a national chain of eighty. It is currently still open. Another financial victim was the Old Monk chain, which failed late last year. Their Winchester outlet, following a lengthy refurbishment, has reopened as a Fuller's pub. The new name is the Bishop on the Bridge. It is one of a new chain of 'Gastro Pubs' for the London brewers, who continue to expand their estate outside of the capital. Another Winchester pub due for alterations is the Black Boy at Wharf Hill. Planners have granted permission for changes that include a new cellar and kitchen and changes to the bar area. Just down the road, at the Cricketers, long-serving landlord Joe Hayes is retiring after 22 years to the quiet life as a guesthouse owner in Ayr

Refurbishment and a name change have occurred at a North Baddesley pub. The former Baddesley Arms, which in recent years has been called the Steak and Stilton, has now become the Knight Cross. A little further up the road, in Romsey, the Old House at Home also underwent refurbishment last year, while the new management of the Three Tuns have put the emphasis very much on the food trade.

Name changes have also been cropping up in the New Forest in recent months. One of the more spectacular transformations is the metamorphosis of Hunter's Wine Bar in Lyndhurst into Coburns Piano Bar, which claims to specialise in malt whisky, wines and champagne. In Lymington the one time Olde English Gentleman, which has had a chequered recent history as the Black Cat, is now under the banner of the Fusion Inn, featuring Thai cuisine and new licensees Poonswawat Klungarruuth and Isileli Tuibai.

Another change in emphasis as well as name has seen the former Ventana on the cliffs at Barton-on-Sea, which had been trading as Oysters restaurant, turn into Pebble Beach café/bar/restaurant. One time licensees of the Ventana, Peter and Virginia Poingdestre, have taken over the newly refurbished Wheel Inn at Pennington, which is advertising jointly with the Forest Heath Hotel in Sway. Across the road from the Forest Heath, the White Rose Hotel has become the Sway Manor Restaurant and Hotel. It is run by Robert Towle, who previously ran an eponymous restaurant in Walhampton, on the outskirts of Lymington. The emphasis is more than ever on the food trade but there is still a small area in which to enjoy the garden views with a pint of Ringwood Best. In the centre of Lymington, the Angel Inn has reopened following refurbishment. Also under new management is the former Harpers, now renamed the Haven. Robert and Niki Smith, who have previously run other bars and restaurants in the town, are now in charge of the café bar that overlooks the Solent from its location in Lymington Yacht Haven. In nearby Pennington we wish to offer our congratulations to landlord Phil Grasham, who earlier this year celebrated 25 years at the Musketeer. If only all pubs could have this level of stability, and could be as well run as the Musketeer.

Two Forest pubs have been looking to construct letting accommodation, but with differing success rates. The Turfcutters Arms at East Boldre has received permission to construct three holiday lets at the pub but permission to convert an outbuilding at the Three Tuns at Bransgore to letting accommodation and a store was refused.

At Brockenhurst station, the Morant Arms has been boarded up for a number of months and permission is to be sought to convert the pub into flats and construct other accommodation in the grounds of the property. With all this talk of closed pubs, there is more positive news from New Milton, where work is well advanced on the new pub/restaurant in Gore Road to be called The Barn.

At another station in our area, Shawford (ever famous for the tragic 'death' of Victor Meldrew under the railway arch), the Bridge Hotel, also virtually under the arch, is currently closed and cocooned in scaffolding. In butterfly fashion it is due to emerge by May as 'a Chef and Brewer.'


Local Brewery News Hop Press index

Rob Whatley

Finally on to local brewery news. The Ringwood Brewery (which, incidentally, is now the largest real ale producer in Hampshire) is, this spring, celebrating its quarter century. Many will have seen the celebratory beer Bold Forester appearing in the pubs. We congratulate them on this steady growth and fine achievement.

The Southampton Festival (see below) will have the glasses kindly sponsored by Ringwood and will feature a full range of their beers.

Also as part of their celebration year, the brewery will be hosting a beer festival at this year's New Forest Show. Whilst they always have a bar tent at the show, this year will be much grander. A series of marquees will constitute the 'Commoners' Drift' which will house several beers from each of a dozen or so local breweries.

The show will be on from Tuesday, July 29th to Thursday, July 31st, put it in your diary now.

For several months the Hampshire brewery in Romsey have been producing some brews for Becketts of Basingstoke. At first we were assured that this was to meet production limitations at Becketts' plant. Now a much more dismal and sinister view seems to be in order since the local Basingstoke paper has just carried a notice calling a meeting of Becketts' creditors.

It will be sad if they have gone to the wall, they had some fine brews. No doubt when all is known the culprit may emerge as the increasingly difficult marketing conditions that micro-brewers are facing.



The Southampton Beer Festival, at the City's imposing Guildhall, is almost upon us again. (See also our Southampton Beer Festival 2003 information page.) The Festival opens on Thursday, June 5th.
Full details of the sessions:

  • Thursday, June 5th., 7.00pm to 11.00pm 
    Preview session, tickets £2 
  • Friday, June 6th., 11.30am to 4.00pm 
    Free entry session (£2 glass deposit) 
  • Friday, June 6th., 6.00pm to 11.00pm 
    Tickets £5, Heelstone (Celtic Folk) 
  • Saturday, June 7th., 11.30am to 4.30pm 
    Tickets £4. Riverside Jazz Band 
  • Saturday, June 7th., 6.30pm to 11.00pm 
    Tickets £4, Bog Rolling Stones, Starclub 

We strongly advise buying tickets in advance, we cannot guarantee 'on the door' sales. Ticket outlets are:

  • The Guildhall Box Office (Library door) 
    023 8083 3612
  • Southampton Tourist Information Office,
    9 Civic Centre Rd., 023 8083 3333
  • Bitter Virtue Off-licence, Cambridge Rd.,
    Portswood 023 8055 4881
  • South Western Arms, Adelaide Rd., St Denys, 023 8032 4542
  • Stones (formerly Hogshead), High Street,
    Eastleigh, 023 8065 2554
  • Waterloo Arms, Waterloo Rd., Freemantle
    023 8022 0022 

By post to:

  • Beer Festival Tickets, 11 Newlands Ave., Shirley, Southampton SO15 5EP
    (with SAE and cheque, payable to: Hampshire Beer Festival, Southampton


GOOD TIMES Hop Press index

Two items spotted in the Hampshire Chronicle's extracts from past editions. Reprinted with their kind permission:

Saturday, January 31, 1903
Southampton - Mr Smith, a local temperance advocate, moved at a meeting of the Southampton magistrates, that the Justices press for the abolition of barmaids at their approaching conference with the brewers. He said that the presence of barmaids in public-houses tended very largely to increase the desire for drink and the consumption of intoxicants. The motion having been seconded, Alderman Emanuel said that such action as was proposed would lead to nothing more than increased temptation to immorality, owing to the girls being thrown out of employment. The motion was defeated by six votes to three.

Saturday, January 24, 1903
Southampton - Borough Magistrates on Wednesday took steps to ascertain the feasibility of reducing the number of licences by arrangement with the brewers. At a meeting of the Justices, it was decided to call for a list of streets in the town showing the number of licences in each street, and to take into consideration before the next licensing day the question of making some reduction in the number of houses. There was one licence now, it was stated, for every 120 male inhabitants of the borough, including teetotallers and children; and in one thoroughfare there was a license to every eleven houses.


Hop Press issue number 53 – April 2003

Editor: Pat O'Neill
1 Surbiton Road
SO50 4HY
023 8064 2246

© CAMRA Ltd. 2003