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Help pub out of the ‘last chance saloon’
9:00am Wednesday 20th March 2013 in Romsey
AN Easter beer festival will be the “last chance saloon” for a 200-year-old village pub.
The landlord at the King’s Head, Whiteparish, which dates back to 1786, fears for the pub’s future because trade has plummeted to an all time low.
Trouble-shooting landlord, Adam Rainford, has been brought in by pub owner, Nick Evans, to save the business.
Adam said: “The pub has fantastic history and is a great venue, but sadly, as with a lot of pubs, isn’t being used. It has been deserted by villagers and now relies on people visiting the village to survive, but that is not enough to make it pay.”
He added: “Our overheads, such as utility bills, are so high that we have to do something about it. We are holding a beer festival, hoping it will attract more customers to the pub and we hope it works.”
Adam, who once had pubs of his own, has been a freelance pub manager for the last two years.
The 31-year-old said: “I advertise myself as someone that turns poor performing pubs around and it’s the last chance saloon for the King’s Head.”
He said that while food sales were doing well, the sales of drink had slumped.
“Personally, I don’t believe banning smoking in pubs affected the trade, as some people claim. I think cultures are changing and more people meet at home instead of socialising in pubs.”
“When it snowed in January, all the villagers came into the pub, because they couldn’t get out and about. If everybody in the village came in and had a couple of pints each week, we would not be in the situation we are now in,” added Adam.
He stressed that a pub the size of the King’s Head had the potential to employ around eight people, but it only has half that number.
Whiteparish has a population of about 1,200 people and besides the King’s Head, there are two more pubs in the village – the Parish Lantern and the Fountain Inn.
The five-day beer festival starts on Thursday, March 28 and continues through the Easter period.
There will 15 different beers on offer and 12 local bands will be taking part in the festival.
Charities to benefit from the festival include Salisbury’s Dog Trust and Dementia UK. The pub is also staging an Egg Hunt on Easter Sunday and proceeds from this will go to the village pre-school.