Brewery easing the pub industry blues A

Saturday, April 2, 2011, Express & Star
defection is
unfair on the
local voters
of the
30 years ago
A BITTER row broke out over the future
of one of Wolverhampton’s oldest and
most famous buildings.
The timber-framed Lindy Lou building
in Victoria Street had just been renovated
by Wolverhampton Council at a cost of
£158,000, and the authority went out to
tender to find a tenant.
The highest offer was £13,000-year, for
an old-world tea shop. But the council’s
controlling group chose to let it to a
wholefood co-operative, community
gallery and community newspaper which
would pay only £10,000.
Tory councillors threatened to report
their Labour colleagues to the district
auditor, saying they should be made to
pay the extra £3,000. But council leader
Councillor John Bird said the co-operative was more in keeping with the authority’s view of community use.
WOLVERHAMPTON was to get £3.2 million from the Government to fund
improvements to rundown areas of the
Resources were to be concentrated on
the Bilston area, with landscaping in the
town centre and the old steelworks site,
two industrial improvement areas, and
improvements to sports centres.
THE previous month had been the
wettest March on record for 100 years,
according to the Met Office. But it was
also the mildest since 1959.
A COMBINATION of the recession and
bad weather had taken its toll on Dudley
Zoo, with visitor numbers falling by
50,000, it was revealed.
Chairman Clifton Smith-Cox resigned
as chairman, handing over control to
Councillor Joe Rowley, who had campaigned to save the zoo.
20 years ago
CLASSIC cars worth hundreds of thousands of pounds were destroyed in a
suspected arson attack at a Walsall
A 1956 Rolls-Royce Phantom, a WestBromwich built Jensen, two MGB GTs
and a Triumph Vitesse convertible were
among the vehicles wrecked by the
blaze at Europa Motors in Littleton Street
LABOUR leader Neil Kinnock fell through
a hedge after a row with a group of
youths, it was reported. It was claimed
that the MP gave chase after one of the
young men taunted him and his daughter.
SLADE fans Di Daley and Dave Sewell
showed their heroes they were all crazee
by dressing up in glam rock gear.
Di, aged 32, from Manchester, and
Dave, 35, from Cardiff, won a competition for the most outrageous 70s gear at
Walsall Museum and Art Gallery. The
pair, who had travelled to celebrate the
band’s 25th anniversary, were singled
out for the best costume by Slade guitarist Dave Hill and drummer Don Powell.
They received backstage passes for a
party with all four members of the band
at Walsall Town Hall.
10 years ago
A HALESOWEN gardener who had six
valuable bonsai trees stolen was resorting to military tactics to stop the thefts.
Geoffrey Smith, of Stourbridge Road,
had trees worth about £600 stolen over
the weekend. Three years earlier £2,500
worth of trees were stolen.
Mr Smith was now using Ministry of
Defence wire to keep the remain 600
trees and plotted pants in his garden out
of the clutches of thieves.
LOCAL elections which had been due to
take place on May 3 were postponed
due to the outbreak of foot-and-mouth
disease which had closed great swathes
of the countryside.
Prime Minister Tony Blair’s announcement that the local elections would now
be held on June 7 sparked speculation
that a General Election would be held on
the same day.
A 450-name petition calling for closedcircuit television cameras at a crime
hotspot in Wolverhampton was rejected
by the city’s community safety partnership.
Resident Paul Hodson said people in
Whitmore Reans felt very vulnerable following a spate of crimes in the area. But
the partnership said it had never
accepted petitions in the past, and could
not start doing so now.
Brewery easing the
pub industry blues
Brewer Bob Grew checks the fermentation process
Paul Cox and Jim Durkin load a van
Enville’s head brewer Tony Garrington hard at work
Local government editor
rounds up the week in the
corridors of power
HEN Claire Darke withdrew
support for a ConservativeLiberal Democrat coalition,
she tipped the balance of power in
favour of Labour winning back control of Wolverhampton City Council.
OR those of us working
in the brewery industry,
it is alarming how many
pubs have disappeared in the
last three years.
As a result, sales have grown and
Enville Ale and other speciality
brands like Enville Ginger, Cherry
Blonde, Enville White and Old Porter
can now be sampled in more than 180
pubs, clubs and restaurants around
the region.
During the last three and a half
years Enville has won more than 20
CAMRA and other awards for our
beers and recently the brewery was
chosen by Mad O’Rourke’s Pie Factory owner Peter Towler to brew his
famous Lump Hammer Bitter. We are
proud to be brewing for this legendary Tipton landmark.
Back at the brewery, cutting back
on our use of energy has been high on
our agenda. Enville is an authentic
steam brewery and uses its own natural well water to make its ever
expanding range of ales. New cask
cleaning equipment saves around 50
per cent on water usage and a new
eco-friendly effluent plant has been
built to process waste.
If you drive around the Black
Country and surrounding areas
you can’t fail to notice the number of pubs being boarded, sold or
demolished every week.
Many of those outlets have historically been the very heart of our local
communities; providing entertainment, friendship, a game of darts,
crib or dominoes, a place to meet, a
base for a sports team or society as
well as the chance to relax from the
stresses of modern life with a decent
pint, a glass of wine or a soft drink
and all within walking distance of
ordinary people’s front doors.
Everyone knows the pub trade has
suffered from a string of financial
body blows including successive duty
increases over the past few years, a
second January rise in VAT, increased
competition from cheap supermarket
alcohol, rising overheads including
energy, the effect of minimum wage
legislation and, to some extent, social
changes triggered by the smoking
Following the Chancellor’s inflation busting 7.2 per cent increase in
beer duty in the Budget the directors
of Enville Ales, decided enough was
enough and scrapped plans to try and
recoup our own increased costs from
rising energy and material prices during the past 12 months.
Instead we have announced that
we will abandon our annual price
increase and absorb additional costs
at least until March next year.
Enville Ales is just a little South
Staffordshire brewery, a very small
cog in a large industry, but we wanted
to find a way to express our support
and solidarity with the local licensees
that are still in business and give
them the opportunity of making a little more margin on our range of cask
The same applies to the solid support we have received from local
wholesalers and national pub companies who are all feeling the pinch in
these difficult times.
Enville has a large debt of gratitude to all the local licensees who
Enville Brewery’s company directors, back left, Lynn Garrington and
Jerry Hedges. Front left, Owen Lawson and Peter Isherwood
A West Midlands brewery is freezing the price of
its beer to local landlords in an effort to support
the beleaguered pub industry. Enville Brewery
director JERRY HEDGES explains
have helped us survive through some
difficult times in the past three years
and this is our chance to give something back to them, our distributors
and hopefully some of the loyal
drinkers who enjoy our ales.
The current directors and myself
took control of Enville Ales in 2007
and in the years since then have concentrated our efforts on improving
quality, consistency and service as
well as coming to terms with the
financial overheads caused in the
main by inherited borrowings.
We have invested our own money
into the business to clear borrowings,
a large bank overdraft and overdue
trade creditors so we can concentrate
on product quality, brand choice and
With all this going on, it was no
small matter to decide to freeze our
prices, and before making the decision we met with our local MP for
He was clearly sincere in his understanding of our concerns and was
most supportive with a couple of
issues hampering the brewery’s
expansion plans.
Mr Williamson kindly wrote to
George Osborne on our behalf,
expressing our views on the damage
being caused to the pub trade by successive duty increases and the fact
that these had been made worse by
the increase in VAT from 15 per cent
to 20 per cent in the past 15 months.
The response from the Chancellor’s office was predictable but nevertheless disappointing, basically
stating that the increase in duty was
unavoidable given the state of the
nation’s economy.
While that may be so, we at Enville
all agreed it was time to make our
own contribution – which is likely to
cost us around £50,000 from the bottom line over the next 12 months.
With a Royal Wedding on the horizon we will be making our own special celebratory ale. Hopefully it will
go some way towards chasing away
those duty increase blues.
How to enjoy Mother’s Day in perfect harmony
SK many mothers what the expression
‘me time’ means, and you will be met
with a very loud laugh, says Jane
“It can be somewhat of a mystery, especially for
new mums or mums with very young children,”
adds Jane, a counsellor at the Wolverhampton and
Dudley branch of the charity Relate.
As families across Britain prepare to mark Mothering Sunday tomorrow, Jane says the modern day
pressures for many mothers leave them feeling
exhausted and wiped out.
“Mothers across the country are busy balancing
bringing up their children while developing successful careers and nurturing relationships with
partners and friends,” she says.
“It’s so important to strike that balance to keep
yourself sane.”
Relate is the modern name for the old Marriage
Guidance Council, and these days the charity
offers advice on all aspects of harmonious relationships and family life.
A study by the Relate found that 76 per cent
have a good or very good relationship with their
mothers, and they came third in a list of our most
important relationships, after spouses and children.
“But we’re all too aware that in today’s fast
paced society, parenting can feel like a juggling
act,” she says. To mark Mother’s Day, the charity
has come up with some tips to mothers on how to
As thoughts turn to
Mothering Sunday tomorrow, Relate counsellor
why mothers need to
make time for themselves
create the balance that leaves them, their families
and their children feeling a lot happier.
Deal with the guilt
“The guilt complex is nothing new,” says Jane.
“Mothers are pulled in every direction and often
that takes them away from their children and can
bring on the pangs of guilt.”
She says work can be a big culprit, with mothers
wanting to continue developing their career but
struggling to balance conflicting demands.
“The automatic reaction I often see is for mums
to then try and spend every waking second with
their children to make up for the time that they’re
not there,” she says. “But it’s important to remember that might not be the healthiest thing to do –
if you are stressed and uptight, the chances are
you’re not going to be much fun to be around.”
Make time for yourself
“In the whirlwind that is motherhood, it can be
difficult to find time for yourself. This can some-
times leave mums feeling like machines on automatic pilot,” she says. “However, taking regular
breaks can make a huge difference This doesn’t
necessarily mean a whole day out with friends or a
weekend alone, just block out five minutes for you.
“Forget the chores and enjoy a cup of tea and
relax. Moments like this are really important and
will keep you going. And don’t forget that children
don’t need you all the time, it’s easy to smother
them, but they need space to grow.”
Make time for relationships
Jane says is is important that mothers – and
fathers – don’t neglect their own relationships.
“Parents can be so busy that their own relationships are often the first to be put on the back
burner. It’s an easy mistake to make, but children
need strong, happy parents, not ones that are
stressed and spend too much time arguing.
“If you can afford to get a babysitter – fantastic,
or perhaps grandparents can help out.
“But if not, don’t worry. Try to put aside some
time for you and your partner, perhaps a romantic
meal at home. Turn your phones off, turn off the
TV and spend some intimate time together. It doesn’t have to break the bank, but it will make such a
difference and will benefit the whole family.”
● More advice and support can be found at or by calling Relate Wolverhampton & Dudley on
01902 428447 or 07545 697926.
Almost four months later the Lib Dem
kicked the coalition again by crossing
the floor and joining Labour, wearing a
bright red suit to mark the occasion.
No wonder then that council leader
Roger Lawrence warmly welcomed his
newest recruit.
He had a lot to be thankful for – first for
giving his party a way back into power
after two and a half years in opposition
and secondly for giving them a majority
after several months of tense debates
where a crucial vote could be lost if just
one person was off or nipped out of the
council chamber for a comfort break at
the wrong time.
Control of the council passed without
an election and Labour’s new majority
was gained in the same way. Councillor
Darke is not up for re-election until next
year so as long as Labour can hang on
to all its seats in May the party is sitting
Critics have called for Councillor
Darke to face a by-election. The Lib
Dems and some Tories say it is not fair
that people who elected a Lib Dem
should end up with a Labour councillor.
Their point carries extra weight given
that Councillor Darke unseated the sitting Labour councillor Jennifer Cromie in
2008. The choice of Councillor Darke
was a rejection of the Labour party at the
However, Councillor Darke stresses
that she is still the same person that they
elected, that it is the Lib Dems who
changed by abandoning core pledges
like opposing tuition fees as part of the
coalition government.
For her new friends this defection is
like an aggregate goal, one more seat in
the bag before the election has even
kicked off.
HERE’S a story about Winston
Churchill which goes something like this:
Recommended to cut funding for the
arts during the Second World War he
allegedly replied: “Then what are we
fighting for?”
But the cuts have come and the Arts
Council has withdrawn funding altogether from 20 different groups across
the West Midlands after 2012.
Other funding streams such as VInspired, which supported the youth
radio KicFM also ran out at the end of the
financial year on Thursday.
What impressed me this week was the
response from people like Kenny Mach,
the 24-year-old controller of KicFM who
led the celebrations of 13 years of work
as it broadcast for the final time.
He and many others in the voluntary
groups who are losing out were still
grateful for the help they had had. They
just wish they’d had a bit more time to
try to find alternative sources. And while
KicFM is off the air the campaign goes
on to find some other way to pay the
The Arts Council’s announcement this
week and the decision not to fund some
groups after 2012 is a humane one
under the circumstances - 12 months to
get it together and seek support from
someone else.
But we should never forget the disaster of The Public in West Bromwich,
finally cut loose from the apron strings of
the Arts Council this week after getting
£32m of support and running £49m over
The Arts Council astonishingly
described The Public as “old news”
when MPs damned it as a “gross waste
of public money”.
It was the Arts Council who demanded
the building be “iconic”, a demand that
set the debable in motion in the first
What a shame then that so much
money was spent getting the building up
and open in the boom years, only for so
much funding for the very types of event
it is meant to showcase to be slashed
One can’t help but think that if the Arts
Council had not crowed so much for the
“icon” there might have been a lot left in
the kitty for the artists.