Keltek Brewery owner Stuart Heath with London Inn, Summercourt, licensees Phil and Linda Aubrey
Cornish brewery Keltek has embarked on an ambitious expansion plan starting with the acquisition of four village pubs in the county.
The multi-award-winning, Redruth-based brewer has invested more than £1.6m to purchase the Coppice Inn at Lanner, the Robartes Arms in Illogan, the London Inn at Summercourt and the Fox & Hounds in Scorrier, and to undertake significant renovations and developments to each pub.
With pubs nationwide closing on an almost daily basis, Keltek founder Stuart Heath believes it’s time to launch a fight back and help to re-establish local pubs at the heart of their communities.
He said: “Pubs have always been a central part of my life. Whenever I’ve needed anything from a plumbing job done to having my car fixed, in the past there’s always been someone from the pub I knew and trusted. I can imagine a much emptier life without a local pub and many communities have been losing theirs. The idea of celebrating and supporting local pubs which really serve a key role in their surrounding community is very important to me.
“I truly believe in a successful and prosperous future for well run and attractive pubs that are there to serve local people so I want to turn back the clock and, once again, give landlords the opportunity to be able to make a profitable living from running their local.
“One of the ways we intend to achieve this objective is to take a landlord-friendly approach to supplying the pubs and avoid the kind of profiteering that has recently been hitting the headlines. Thus, although the pubs are tied to our brand, we’ll be selling our real ales to our tied estate at a similar competitive price to those at which we sell to freehouses and clubs. This will allow our landlords to be both very competitive and make a sensible and reasonable profit on their beer sales. Beer swaps with other breweries up country are another way in which we can keep prices competitive whilst offering a wider choice of ales in our pubs.”
“This is very much a cause which is close to my heart and I am passionate about supporting local traders who give back to their communities,” he added.
All four pubs will stock the full range of Keltek beers including King, Magik, Lance, Beheaded and Even Keel, all of which are themed in tribute to Cornwall’s Celtic heritage and celebrate the legendary tale of King Arthur.
The Keltek Cornish brewery started life in a small stable on The Roseland peninsula and for years was run by Stuart much more as a hobby than as a business. After winning gold for its very first brew, a craft ale named Kornish Nektar, the brewery relocated in 1998 to a larger plant in Lostwithiel. A few years later and following several more awards, including winning gold in the UK National Brewing Competition for flagship premium bitter Keltek King, both first and second prizes at the International World of Beer festival in Miami Beach plus the SIBA South West championship for best bitter Magik, the brewery upsized again, moving to its current location in Redruth.
In more recent years the brewery has made considerable investment in plant and equipment — including state-of-the-art processing and bottling facilities — and now ranks as one of the largest capacity breweries in the West Country.