This is a post that I never thought I’d be writing. Unfortunately, the pub industry is in decline. We’re now all too used to seeing pubs being closed or pushed into a chain that prides itself on mediocre thaw and serve food.
The Craven Arms is a traditional public house which has been at the heart of Birmingham’s craft beer scene. This was the go-to pub in Birmingham. Matt Curtis steered me in the direction of this establishment when I met him last year. He told me this was the place for truly unique beers from across the world.
The first time I visited The Craven Arms, I was welcomed by not just the loyal regulars propped up at the bar, but also by the landlord and landlady, Chris and Sharon Sherratt. The atmosphere was a friendly and joyful one. Everyone shared a common interest, making sure their glasses were filled with individual and unique beers that can’t be found anywhere else in Birmingham.
A prime example of the available beer selection was the time I picked up a few growlers of Jai Alai. Chris had secured one of just three kegs in the entire UK. It’s his dedication and passion for amazing beer that has really allowed Chris to get his teeth sunk into the world of amazing beer.
Unfortunately, the owners of the pub, Black Country Ales have decided to make some drastic, uncalled-for changes. These sadly included saying bye to Chris and Sharon, the faces of The Craven Arms. They’re also replacing the taps with generic CAMRA-favoured ales.
Yet again this is a prime example of how these organisations are changing the face of the traditional pub. Hence why 90% now have plywood windows and concrete boulders blocking the carparks, standing as a memorial of what Britain was once known for.
To alter a pub with a roaring trade of regulars, as well as beer hunters that journey to Birmingham, well, it makes no sense to me. Does this go deeper than we think? Is there a controlling body behind these actions? I love a good conspiracy!
I always made sure people started off or finished at The Craven Arms. So when people ask me where to go in Birmingham now… sadly, The Craven Arms can no longer be on my list.
I’d like to wish Chris and Sharon all the best for the future. With Chris and his contacts, his pure love and passion for amazing beer, I am excited to see what will come next. Watch this space.