From brewery to tap, the high street pub preparing to open
As pubs begin a staggered reopening across the country, a small alehouse in Harleston is warming up to welcome its very first customers through the door.
“We couldn’t have picked a stranger time, really,” said George Moore, manager of the newly founded The Cap, on The Thoroughfare, which is set for its grand opening this week.
“We were gearing up, getting all of the hard work do, so then be told that you can’t open your doors to the public was absolutely gutting.”
Formerly known as The Cardinal’s Hat, the pub was bought by Andy and Amy Hipwell last year in order to serve as a tap room for their hugely successful brewery, The Ampersand Brew and Co.
The brewery, based on Camphill Farm in Bungay, would host monthly parties, where punters, bands, and food trucks would descend upon the picturesque vineyard next door.
“It would be predominantly friends and family turning up, but the popularity increased and increased. It was almost like a mini festival – beer was flowing, the wine, the food, the music – they were some really amazing events,” said Mr Moore, who lives above the pub.
As the events organically grew, as did the profile of the Ampersand brand, a vacant, almost half-a-millennium-old pub less than 10 miles away in Harleston was chosen as the brewery’s official hospitality arm.
“The pub is a bit of a homage to the Ampersand parties,” said Mr Moore, 29, who would help out by serving drinks and hauling kegs around on Fridays at Camphill Farm.
“The whole idea is that it’s the Ampersand tap room – it’s an extension of the brewery.
“As soon as I stepped into the pub, I looked around and it just reeked of potential. It’s a really nice space and a really wicked building, with a lot of history to it.
“The way I’ve been speaking to people, they’ve said this is what Harleston needs, and you can really see just how important this building might be. It’s very exciting.
“This is a stake in the ground, to say ‘look, we’ve got this far, we’ve literally got our logo on a building’.”
More by this authorJoe Hadden
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