What does 100,000 pints of real ale look like?

Upon checking my Facebook account this morning I was most surprised to see several birthday greetings on my wall, especially as it isn’t my birthday until January! It soon dawned on me that the ‘birthday’ on Facebook is actually the date we opened the doors of The Thatchers Arms five years ago. We already had many kind messages at the beginning of the month after proudly announcing it was five years since we exchanged contracts on the business, but today is the anniversary of opening night. After getting the keys we closed for a couple of weeks in order to clean, re-decorate, sort the kitchen out and find suppliers and staff. Friday November 17 2006 we re-opened with a little launch party for our locals, friends & family.

One of the main attractions of the Thatchers Arms was the Free of Tie lease.  It’s no secret that I love beer, I love trying different beers, I love selling beer to happy customers and I wanted to be able to sell any beer I chose, which I now do…  Sadly a couple of years ago, after about 200 or so, I lost track of exactly how many different beers we’d served, although, as a self-confessed beer geek, I could probably remember what they all looked and tasted like if prompted.

After a little research this morning, our till records revealed that we have sold just shy of 100,000 pints of Real Ale since opening the doors in 2006. Adnams Bitter has been in permanent residence since day one and our first guest beer Crouch Vale Brewers Gold was so popular it’s hasn’t ever left the bar! Together they account for over half of our Real Ale sales to date.  These two exceptional beers have helped us to gain people’s trust. Our guest beers are often from small microbreweries that our customers may not have even heard of, but the consistent quality of our two permanent ales gives people the confidence to try something different. We strive to have the best beers we can get hold of, choosing beers through reputation and not price. We serve lots of East Anglian beers, but also search out beers from the new wave of craft brewers across the UK. Our Guest ales today are Greenjack Albion Mild, Bristol Beer Factory Sunrise & Hardknott Continuum, and we’ve got Magic Rock, Mauldons & Nethergate beers coming soon as well as a 2009 vintage Adnams Tally Ho for December. We’ve also just found out ex Nethergate brewer Tom Knox is opening the Colchester Brewery just 2 miles down the road, look out for their beers coming soon!

Our devotion to beer was kindly recognised by our local CAMRA branch who awarded us the Colchester & North Essex Pub of the Year award 2011. We have been featured in the ‘Good Beer Guide‘ for 4 years running as well as Adrian Tierney-Jones recent  CAMRA book ‘Great British Pubs‘. I even penned my first paid article on beer this month (for a trade publication released in December).

But what does 100,000 pints of ale look like? Well, it depends on your point of reference. According to beer-pages.com it’s roughly the daily output from Adnams Brewery. According to the BBC we drink 50 times that amount of Guinness on St Patrick’s Day in the UK alone. To me 100,000 pints is a milestone which represents a lot of hard work, fun, devotion and the loyalty of our staff and locals who have drunk it and helped to make the Thatchers what it is in five short years. A hearty thank you and a great big ‘Cheers!’ goes out to all of our staff past and present. Happy Birthday us.

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