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Raising a glass to craft brewing: Two Crafty Brewers


In honour of this year’s annual National Beer Day on Friday 15th June, we raise a glass to two Worcestershire entrepreneurs whose shared interest in craft beers led to the creation of a thriving business that is breathing new life into neglected pubs.

Friends Rich Bartram (pictured left) and Ron Morgan (right) each run successful businesses.

Ten years ago, they had the idea of a beer festival to raise funds for their local village school.

With a mutual interest in real ale and craft beer, they went on to create and launch their Two Crafty Brewers company.

Whilst this began as a vehicle for their cider and then bottled and cask beers, the brand has grown into a chain of pubs, each of which has risen phoenix-like to be transformed from a struggling, unprofitable pub into a thriving business.

Creating the brand

“The experience of selling real ale and cider ourselves, initially on a small scale, led us into making a five-year plan to acquire a small group of pubs and outlets to service our own product range and create our own brand identity,” explains Rich Bartram.

“After some research, we realised brewing beer is really specialised, so opted to start with making cider. We sourced apples from a Hereford grower and bottled our first product, Redneck Cider.

“With advice from friends in the brewing trade, we looked to produce three craft beers from our own recipes, and worked with established brewers to make them – Golden Beast, American IPA, and Pale Ale – and supply all into local pubs.

“This venture taught us how tough it is to secure outlets for craft beers, so we explored the possibilities of buying our own venues to stock our beers, and deliver better margins.”

Keeping it local

In 2015, Rich’s former local pub, the Sow and Pigs in West Bromwich, came up for sale. “Knowing the pub and area, we decided to buy it,” says Rich.

The pub was in a dire state and, saving it from demolition, Rich and Ron set about refurbishing it.

“It was an intensive four-month renovation project,” Rich says, “with a huge team on site. But we created a unique, quirky fit-out featuring simple scaffold planks and pallets. Trade has been pretty good since we opened.”

Lockett & Co

Around the same time, Rich and Ron met Corrigan Lockett, one of the UK’s licenced trade sector’s top consultants.

“For over 25 years, Lockett & Co has worked with major PLCs and breweries. Through his connections, Corrigan hears of pubs coming to market,” says Rich, “and in early 2016, he told us The Crown in Claverley was to become available. We acquired and refurbished it, and opened that Summer.

“Shortly after, we heard the then landlord of a Worcester pub, The Lamb and Flag, was looking to retire, and in October 2016, we bought the neglected pub, a listed building dating back to the 1700s, and began its refurbishment.

“We replicated the interior style of the Sow and Pigs, to create a strong design link and distinctive Two Crafty Brewers feel.

“The listed building has a room upstairs, which was refurbished into a fantastic Italian restaurant, Sugo.

“The Lamb and Flag is trading extremely well and currently our flagship venue.”

Success story

Lodders’ Caroline Nemecek has worked with Rich and Ron on the purchase of two of their pubs.

She says: “This is a true story of success – Rich and Ron are in the business of taking on struggling pubs and turning them around. They’ve established the Two Crafty Brewers brand, and created thriving businesses.”

“This is an excellent example of how strong working relationships deliver great results,” adds Corrigan Lockett. “Lodders and Lockett & Co have long worked together for clients on licensing and property matters. By pooling our expertise, we’ve supported Rich and Ron as they develop their brand and business.”

Lodders Life

This feature was first published in Issue 5 of Lodders Life. To read the full story, and learn more about the Two Crafty Brewers, see (page 22 & 23)

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