Pub that brews on-site now has 75% of its tables outside
- Credit: Martin Bate
The Old Cannon Brewery has earned itself an award by embracing the "al fresco experience" as lockdown forced it to adjust its business model.
The Old Cannon in Bury St Edmunds is 'pub of the month' under the scheme by the West Suffolk & Borders branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).
The pub in Cannon Street is now fully open following the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic with a full table service for both drinkers and diners, inside and out.
CAMRA recognised the pub because of how it adjusted its business model to accommodate the various stages of lockdown, converting its former car park to an outside dining and drinking area with shelters, heating and light and expanding its brewery production.
Accepting the award, Charlie Gerrard, managing partner and owner of the Old Cannon, said: “The pandemic prompted us take a hard look at our business. As the result our trading area is now three times the size of that before, with 75% of our tables outside.
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"Our customers have embraced the ‘al fresco experience’ enjoying our varied menu accompanied by our flavoursome beers, which are brewed on site, and other tipples in the comfort of our new outdoor spaces. As the result our business is now better than ever.”
During the pandemic, the Old Cannon has remained open wherever possible and has offered a take-away and home delivery service when not.
Martin Bate, vice chairman of West Suffolk CAMRA, which is behind August's beer and cider festival, said: “The Old Cannon is unusual in that it brews its own real ale on site and successfully combines that offering with a varied and well-executed menu in a choice of indoor or outdoor settings. This makes it popular with diners and drinkers alike.
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"The local CAMRA branch has been impressed by how Charlie and his staff have robustly tackled the challenges of the pandemic whilst continuing to support the local community. On that basis alone this award is well deserved.”
Mr Gerrard was keen to point out “government support was at the forefront of reassuring us and and gave us the impetus to reinvent our business and refocus on what was needed to ensure a prosperous post-pandemic future”.
The Old Cannon is open throughout the day for food and drink and also breakfasts at the weekend. For information and opening times visit the website.