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History of the Pub

Why the Brewers Arms is important to West Malvern Residents

How we got to the here and now

The Brewers Arms has been an integral part of the village of West Malvern for over 150 years. Hidden away down an unmade track high on the western slopes of the Malvern Hills, the Brewers not only plays a pivotal role in the local community, but has always been popular with visitors and walkers too - who for generations have enjoyed calling by after partaking of the pleasures of the nearby hills.

The Brewers Arms is undisputedly a little gem of great distinction: with a single simple bar; some original fittings extant; a roaring fire in the winter, and a view to die for to be had from the garden, it enchants many on a first visit. It is this charm and great character, allied with its role of being a focal point for a gamut of local clubs, societies and community groups, that makes it the beating heart of West Malvern. The village would be such a poorer place if it were to be lost.

Since the Lamb Inn in West Malvern closed in 2013, it laid claim to being the last and only pub in the village. It has previously survived a devastating fire in 1992, and more recently (with one or two exceptions) it has suffered from a rapid turnover of tenants, who have struggled to make a living. The Brewers Arms, with its limited space, is by no means an easy ask for a landlord or landlady.

Therefore, when it was learned that owners, Admiral Taverns, were looking to sell the pub, the local community decided it was time to take decisive action. Thus the creation of the Brewers Community Pub Group, which sought to take the Brewers Arms into community ownership and run it for the benefit of the whole community. This plan was brought to fruition in September 2022.

The period between the purchase and the opening on 10th December 2022 was marked by extensive cleaning and renovation of the pub, living quarters and garden space, all undertaken by volunteers.

The original vision for the Pub

The Brewers Community Pub Group is proposing to buy the Brewers Arms, refurbish it and run it for the benefit of the whole community. Moreover, the opportunity will be taken to expand the activities and amenities available, thus it will appeal to a broader range of people.

Achieving our vision

1. Transforming the economics

Taking the Brewers Arms into community ownership will transform the economics of running it, thus it will become financially sustainable in the longer term. This will be achieved by financing the purchase of the premises via a community share scheme, whereby investors take a direct stake in the pub's future by buying shares. This more affordable method of raising funds for the purchase means that a future landlord or landlady will correspondingly pay a significantly lower rent than has hitherto been the case. Alongside this, the landlord or landlady will be free to buy their wholesale drinks and other products from whomever they wish (at more competitive free trade prices); they will no longer be tied to a specific brewery or other supplier. These changes fundamentally reset the cost base of running the Brewers Arms as a business.

2. Appealing to a wider audience

By investing in the pub's neglected fabric, and through expanding and improving the facilities and amenities offered in an imaginative way, it will broaden the pub's appeal to a wider audience. Further, those who take a direct stake in the pub (via buying shares) will not only have a say in its running, but will have another good reason to visit more often - it'll be their pub! This can be a real win-win: it will significantly uplift the revenue potential of the business and make the pub even more relevant to the local community. The outcome should be more people will visit more often.

3. How the pub will operate under Community ownership

The purchase and initial refurbishment will be funded via a Community Share Scheme, along with any grants that might be available, plus (if necessary) loans. Investors will be invited to buy shares when the Community Share Prospectus is published.

This proposal will see the Brewers Community Pub Group incorporated as a Community Benefit Society (CBS). This would ultimately appoint tenant(s) to run the pub on behalf of the community, with the rent the tenants pay to the CBS providing the capital to service the annual dividend payments as well as funding ongoing improvements and the reasonable costs of administering the CBS.

The CBS will have a contractual relationship with the pub tenant(s) via a tenancy agreement. This means that they will take the business risk, but also ensures that they operate the pub in line with the aims and objectives set by the CBS for the benefit of the community.

The Brewers (West Malvern) Community Pub Limited: Registered by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 as a Community Benefit Society on 7th April 2022.

Copyright 2024 by The Brewers (West Malvern) Community Pub Ltd
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