Dorset brewery opens radical new pub in Portished
It's normally the beer that comes in metal cans – but at the West's most striking pub opening of the year it is the regulars.
For a pub/restaurant on the water's edge at Portishead Marina is remarkably constructed entirely from 28 recycled shipping containers.
Dorset family business Hall & Woodhouse, brewer of Badger Ales, has this week started welcoming guests to its eponymous pub in the fast-growing North Somerset town. The spectacular £2.4million pub opened to specially invited guests on Monday night before its official opening on Tuesday.
Joint managing director of the fifth-generation family brewery Mark Woodhouse admitted in his opening remarks to guests that this is a radical departure for a business that for more than 200 years has been known for being an ultra traditional rural English brewer.
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He joked when the architect first presented plans to the board there was stunned silence.
However that initial blueprint has been transformed into a sensational space.
Mr Woodhouse added that the key to the venue’s success would be providing the same hospitality its traditional pubs are famed for in a modern setting.
Portraying Hall & Woodhouse as a business rooted in its past would be grossly unfair, it is enjoying a stellar 2012 following the completion of its new £5 million brewery in Blandford Forum in its Dorset heartland.
The firm, which started brewing in 1777 and now has more than 250 pubs across the South and West, has this year seen head brewer Toby Heasman awarded Brewer of the Year by the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group and Hall & Woodhouse was itself awarded The Best Tenanted/Lease Pub Company in the Publican Awards.
It’s famous Badger beer was also introduced to a new audience with its sponsorship of the beer garden at the Hampton Court Flower Show and its Bath venue in Old King Street – perhaps its pub most similar (behind the Georgian facade at least) to Portishead continues to draw recognition.
It is impossible however to ignore the excitement the Woodhouse family feel with the Portishead venture, which has created 55 jobs.
David Hoare, retail director at Hall & Woodhouse says: “Constructing this magnificent pub-restaurant is the culmination of a plan to build something truly special.
And Mr Hoare added: With this location we have really pushed the boundaries to create a destination venue that is completely relevant to its setting.”