While traditional pubs are closing at the rate of 18 a week, 600 Micropubs have opened in the last 10 years.
It became easier to set up a small independent public house, known to us as the Micropub, following the passing of the 2003 Licensing Act, which became effective in 2005.
This meant that wannabe landlords no longer had to advertise their application in advance – at which point the big boys used to step in and object.
The original Micropub, The Butchers Arms in Herne, Kent, was opened in 2005 by Martyn Hillier after spending several years as an off-licence. In 2009, Hillier gave a presentation to the AGM of Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), in Eastbourne, showing the simplicity of the Micropub model and encouraging other people to follow.
It proved to be a catalyst with the Rat Race Ale House in Hartlepool opening six months later and Just Beer Micropub in Newark-on-Trent opening August 2010, soon after followed by The Conqueror Alehouse the same year. Since then, there have been several more Micropubs opening such as The Just Reproach in Deal, Kent and the Bake & Alehouse in Westgate-on-Sea, Kent.
In June 2012, the Micropub Association was set up by Stu Hirst and Martyn Hillier as a resource for other would-be Micropubs, to give free advice on the setting up and running of a successful micropub. Hillier wrote on his website:
The Micropub Association will be a place where like-minded real ale lovers can share their Micropub experiences. The Micropub Association will also be a platform for the new Micropubs to tell the beer drinking community about themselves. A successful Micropub is based upon good ale and lively banter and I want this to come across through the Micropub Association. Ultimately Martyn would like to think that they could become a useful lobby group to support the likes of CAMRA and SIBA, promoting the real ale experience.
From 1 October 2014 the Micropub Association launched its official Micropub recognition scheme, which allows Micropub owners to register as a Recognised Micropub Member. To qualify a micropub must commit to holding up the tenets and ethics of the Association’s definition of what it means to be a Micropub. Once accepted a personalised certificate, with one year’s validity, is issued for display in the establishment to demonstrate to visitors that it is promoting the ethics and tenets of what it means to be a Micropub. In 2015, Hillier was named Campaign for Real Ale campaigner of the year for launching the Micropub Association.
In April 2015, planning permission was granted to open the first Micropub in Scotland, in Kelso in the Scottish Borders
It is great to see new licensed premises open up whether they are pubs, micro pubs or even clubs as so many different business rely on these premises for there own businesses to survive, just like our selves at Comrie supplying fruit machines and jukeboxes to all these pubs and clubs.
Here’s to many more openings over the next few years, Cheers