I might like to think of myself as a strong willed stiff upper-lipped English male-chauvinist bloke, but I'll admit I shed a tear on Friday. We've been the owners of The Woolpack Inn for 6 years, 1 month, 1 week and a few days. It has been an experience. The 19th of February 2010 saw us hand over the keys to the new owners of our pub. Once the solicitor confirmed that completion had occurred and we could move into our new house, we stood for a while, hand in hand, and contemplated our time at our fine ancient hostelry. "Nobody can accuse us of not having a go I said" as the hundreds of memories flashed through my mind and my eyes turned watery.
We've spent the weekend putting our new home the way we want it. Our worldly possessions have been slowly moving into the building that also houses my brewery. Today we managed to move some of the larger heavy items into the house. It's nice to wake up in a place that can really be called our own - you can never truly call a pub a home when there are members of the public passing through every day. You can never call a place your home when you can't just lock the doors and hide away from the world if you really want.
But on Friday night I needed to do something important, I needed to go to The Pub. Which pub? Perhaps that doesn't matter, any pub would do, although I knew which one would be my choice. Beer has become incredibly important to me, not in an alcohol dependancy way but in a way that is defining my life. Break me open and I expect you will find "beer" writ large through my core.
I'm looking forward to giving my liver just a little bit of a rest, but for this weekend I've been mourning the end of an era with the only drink that makes sense to me; beer. So you might be able to take the Landlord out of the pub but you cannot take the beer from the beer geek.
Tonight we've come back to the pub to use their WiFi as neither our brewery building nor our house have broadband yet. For that reason blogging is likely to remain intermittent for a while. I don't find the bar of a busy pub conducive to the best writing environment. But I'll be back, all in good time, I feel I still have lots to write about concerning beer and pubs, some of which I felt uncomfortable writing when I was a Landlord.
Last week, with the assistance of Jeff Pickthall, we attended a trade show for local hospitality businesses. It was the pre-launch of our new venture. In addition to our own brewing activities we are hoping to wholesale esoteric bottled beers. Early days for sure but the response from potential customers was positive. I enjoyed talking about beer to people and although very tiring, I enjoyed the interaction with enthusiastic property operators who like the idea of offering something other than ubiquity.
I'm really pleased to be taking away a whole load of skills and experiences of my time in the pub. I'm sure I'm going to have many sad reflections about the loss of a way of life to me, but I'm taking forward a new business with which I can continue to promote good beer.