Joule’s to rethink craft beer concept

By Mike Berry contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Craft beer, Cheshire, Craft beer bars

Joule's MD Steve Nuttall: "It’s quite a challenge to get the balance right"
Joule's MD Steve Nuttall: "It’s quite a challenge to get the balance right"
Steve Nuttall, managing director of Shropshire brewer and pub operator Joule’s has revealed the company is re-evaluating its Craft Beer Bars concept after mixed results at two trial sites.

Nuttall said that while the Angel Inn in Lichfield, Staffordshire, had proved “an outstanding success”, the other trial at the Lower Chequer in Sandbach,
East Cheshire, had been “a disappointment”.

He told M&C Report​: “It’s made us think again about which areas this is going to work in because we were quite surprised at the strength of the reaction from the locals at Sandbach. I think it shows that although we in the industry like to think craft beer is a very established trend, it hasn’t translated to every part of the country.”

He said future Craft Beer Bars would focus on “larger towns, where there is a slightly more affluent and, for want of a better word, sophisticated, market”.


He added: “The audience for craft beer is quite cynical of the mainstream so they don’t want to see the familiar big brands on the bar. What we found in Sandbach was completely the opposite. People were coming in and not seeing anything familiar on the bar, so they were walking out. It’s quite a challenge to get that balance right.”

Nuttall said the company would now seek to “soften” the emphasis on craft beer at the Lower Chequer and re-introduce ‘big name’ lagers.

He said the company was carrying out rolling refurbishment projects across the 38 core sites of its 43-strong estate, with spend increasing from an average of £120,000 to £250,000.

The company’s next site would be the Price of Wales in Congleton, East Cheshire, where they have exchanged contracts. The next big refurbishment will be the New Inn, Newport, Shropshire.

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More to it than meets the eye

Posted by Mark Enderby,

Before Joules took over the Lower Chequer it was a successful freehouse with a wide variety of changing ales and winning many CAMRA awards. The regulars were clearly used to unfamiliar ales.

Joules comes along and spends loads of money, and trade dives. How many successful pubs have been bought out in the expectation that there is some magic only to find that the landlord is key?

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What is it?

Posted by Brian Francis,

The story is meaningless unless the term "Craft Beer" is defined. These beers can come to the bar as "Real" i.e. cask conditioned, they may be "Key Keg" which is a bag within a keg, or they may be straightforward keg beers.I have great interest in trying the cask conditioned beers, I am not particularly excited about the second type and positively refuse to drink keg beers.

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change the name

Posted by steven griffiths,

having been manager there many years ago, a suggestion to change the craft ale name back to just being real ale

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