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Related tags: Morrissey fox, Men behaving badly, Beer, Neil morrissey

Two wacky lads set up their own pub and microbrewery - with hilarious consequences.It is entirely possible that a proposal for a new pub-based sitcom...

Two wacky lads set up their own pub and microbrewery - with hilarious consequences.

It is entirely possible that a proposal for a new pub-based sitcom along these lines is sitting in a pile of scripts on a TV commissioning editor's desk at this very moment.

But for Men Behaving Badly star Neil Morrissey, who might normally be first choice when it comes to casting such a role, his new pub-themed TV project is a more serious undertaking altogether.

This autumn, Channel 4 will broadcast three hour-long programmes charting the refurbishment and reopening of Ye Olde Punch Bowl Inn, the Yorkshire pub owned by Morrissey Fox. As the name suggests, the business has been set up by Neil and his friend Richard Fox, noted beer and food writer and broadcaster, and a member of The Publican​'s beer and food matching panel.

The two have acquired the lease of the 17th-century village inn in Marton-cum-Grafton, North Yorkshire, from its private owner. The TV series, under the working title Neil Morrissey's Perfect Pint​, will chart the progress of the project from the start of the refurbishment through to the VIP re-opening of the business last month.

As with any reality TV series, it is likely that viewers will be treated to a few funny moments as well as the occasional setback and scare along the way.

However, this is clearly seen by both partners as the foundation of a long-term business, with the documentary crew following their every move just a sideshow to the main event - the pub's opening.

Neil and Richard were introduced by a mutual friend, actor Hugo Speer, some time ago. They discovered they had plenty in common - Neil is an accomplished amateur chef, having appeared on Ready Steady Cook, and also has experience of the pub trade.

In 2004 he acquired Browns Hotel in Laugharne, South Wales, a favourite haunt of legendary drinker and poet Dylan Thomas, and sold the business for a healthy profit two years later.

However, he insists that Morrissey Fox is a longer-term project. "Pubs are very important, they should be at the heart of communities," he says. "This village only has the pub and the post office left, and our first priority is to restore the pub's place at the centre of village life."

That means a destination food business combined with a thriving drinks trade. Richard, whose 25 year experience in the trade includes stints as a bar owner, chef and restaurateur, adds: "It will be a great place to come and have a meal, but we want to achieve that without losing the essential nature of a local pub."

One of the main draws on the drinks side will be the Morrissey Fox beers, which in due course will be made in a brewhouse that has been developed in an outbuilding on the pub site. For the opening, however, supplies of Morrissey Fox Blonde Ale came from a nearby microbrewery that has helped create the recipe.

Also on the bar-top are traditional Yorkshire ales as well as a range of speciality beers supplied by InBev. Neil and Richard have worked hard to put beer at the heart of the pub's offer, with the Beautiful Beer campaign providing its branded, stemmed half-pint glasses to the pub, where they will be offered to diners choosing beer.

Staff shirts, launch party invitations and beer lists all carried the Beautiful Beer logo, clearly setting out Morrissey Fox's passion for beer quality.

Neil says: "With more than 5,000 beers in the UK, why do we need another? We believe there's an opportunity. We have created a unique blonde ale with the refreshing cleansing and colour qualities of lager but with the complexity of a great ale.

"It's a fabulous accompaniment to all types of food, especially poultry dishes, fish and salad."

Richard adds: "We have a fantastic menu of locally sourced food at the Punch Bowl. Finding great local suppliers has not been a problem - in fact we've been spoilt for choice. There's some amazing produce in this area."

As well as familiar pub fare such as roast pork, VIPs at the pub's opening - who included a smattering of celebrities and actors - were treated to a range of local food, including smoked eel and even rabbit. These flavours will be reflected in the pub's menu proper, says Richard. "We're also planning to have squirrel on the menu, another traditional dish that is making a comeback," he says.

"We'll be using our beer in many of our dishes in a variety of ways, and will be offering a beer list alongside our wine list. We feel wine has had it too good for too long as the perfect and only accompaniment with good food. Things are about to change."

Sampling a pint of Blonde Ale, Neil says: "I've always wanted to have my own beer. This is likely to be the first in a range of products - we've got big plans for Morrissey Fox."

As well as expanding the range of beers and offering it to other outlets, more pubs are also on the agenda for the pair. "We definitely want to take what we've done here at the Punch Bowl to other pubs," adds Neil.

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