Ipswich: Historic pub teams up with customers for financial support

A PUB landlord has come up with a novel way to fight the economic doom and gloom.

Mike and Georgina Keen, from The Brewery Tap in Ipswich, have been selling �500 bonds to customers to avert a potential financial crisis.

The couple took over the Cliff Road pub in September 2009 from Cliff Quay Brewery with virtually no money behind them.

Mr Keen said: “We took it over not having two pennies to rub together. But we did it because we thought there was a huge amount of potential, and with the development from the marina to the docks, it looked like a really good catch.”

But there have been setbacks, as Mr Keen explained. “An investment pack fell through right at the last minute so was a bit of a damp squib. We had been relying on that to help us with cash flow to sort out the business.

“In lieu of any backing from the banks we had no option but to turn to supporters of The Brewery Tap to try to raise the necessary funding to see us through.”

Mr Keen, who is also the pub’s head chef, said his loyal customers have followed the pub’s trials and tribulations and offered to help.

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“The Brewery Tap Bonds struck a chord with our customers,” he said: “It’s basically a flat loan of �500 which gives the customer a 10% discount and if they buy four the receive a beer pump plaque.

“We have sold 14 bonds at the moment and are feeling pretty confident that the business is not going to go down the pan.”

Since Mr and Mrs Keen took over the pub, they have seen profits increase around ten-fold from �4,000 a month to around �35,000.

Mr Keen added: “From June 2012 we will be buying back one bond per month picked at random from the hat.”