With small premises, certain things have to go because there’s no room, while in order to keep things simple it’s important to focus on the beer. While other pubs might provide overnight accommodation and adventure playgrounds or billiards and pub grub, a micropub is all about good beer and good beer alone.
Martyn Hillier’s motto at The Butcher’s Arms (Britain’s first micropub): You can’t please everyone, so don’t bother trying.
As a business stripped back to the basics, a micropub is probably best defined by what it does NOT have:-
- No lager. At least not the bland rice water marketed as being from sunny holiday destinations like Australia, Spain and Brazil when in fact it’s brewed in Manchester or Northampton. Some micropubs even ban the use of the word and leave a swear jar by the till.
- Nothing extra-cold, fizzy or smooth. Anything that requires special fittings or bulky equipment in order to be served goes against the ethos of keeping things small and simple. Besides, any beer that needs to be kept cold or fizzy in order to taste better is more than likely not real ale.
- No global brands. If you’re taking the trouble to go into business on your own, you’ll appreciate how fellow independents should be supported. Also, microbreweries benefit from reduced beer duty while local producers might offer a discount, resulting in savings which can be passed on to the punters.
- No alcopops or shots. For the same reason as there won’t be any lager: no-one can compete on price with the likes of Tesco, so a micropub should sell products that the supermarkets don’t offer.
- No TV, not even one with the sound turned off. Not only does this mean there are no distractions, there’s no Sky Sports bill either.
- No flashing gizmos like a fruit machine (some micropubs even ban the use of mobile phones).
- No loud music from a juke box, because having to pay for a music licence to play the radio goes against being small and simple. Ideally any music should be performed live, if there’s enough room.
What makes a micropub unique is what’s missing, but we hope you won’t miss any of it!