Blockbuster-turned-micropub named National Cider Pub of the Year

By Stuart Stone

- Last updated on GMT

Wow, what a difference: the Firkin Shed, which was once a video store, has won several accolades
Wow, what a difference: the Firkin Shed, which was once a video store, has won several accolades
The Firkin Shed in Bournemouth, Dorset, has been named the National Cider Pub of the Year by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

Run by ex-painter and decorator Paul Gray and his wife Lisa, the Firkin Shed stocks a broad selection of ciders, perries, cask ales, mead and rum.

Previously a branch of Blockbuster video store, the Firkin Shed opened in 2015 becoming the first micropub in Bournemouth. Using a shed for the bar, customers can choose from six regularly changing cask ales and about 20 ciders from across the UK.

The pub has won praise for its atmosphere, music and no mobile phone policy – which sees a £1 fine imposed on offenders and proceeds being donated to the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance.

Winner of the local Cider Pub of the Year and Beer Drinkers' Pub of the Year for the East Dorset branch area in 2017, the Firkin Shed will be presented with the national award today (Monday 1 October), kicking off CAMRA’s Cider Month promotion, with events scheduled throughout October.

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National Cider Pub of the Year organiser Sarah Newson commented: “Since the National Cider Pub of the Year competition started in 2005, it has gone from strength to strength, with more branches taking part.

“This year's winner has only been open for three years, which is a great achievement.

“Paul Gray and his team have done brilliantly to convert a former video shop into a national award-winning and very popular micropub in such a short time.”

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Paul Gray added: “We’re truly thrilled to be receiving this award. We know we have a great range of locally produced real cider, but to be recognised as the National Cider Pub of the Year is more than we ever imagined.

“Having been open for just over three years, we’re part of the new community of micropubs on the UK pub scene. The Firkin Shed is about people coming together in a safe, happy environment, with a friendly atmosphere and, of course, a decent pint.

“We actively buy from traditional cider makers and small producers, many of whom have cultivated their own orchards and share the same ethos. We hope that has been reflected in this award and that our success has shown there is a place for real cider in all pubs.”

The other finalists were the Cricketers Arms, St Helens, Merseyside; the Blythe Hill Tavern, Lewisham, south London; and the Cellar Door, Newport, south Wales.

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