Compulsive publican Jerry Brunning has chosen a North Wales village inn as the fifth venue for his growing Pubs Ltd group.
The Cheshire based company has purchased the historic Druid Inn at Gorsedd, near Holywell, from North West brewer Daniel Thwaites with plans for a ‘careful renovation’ before relaunch, now planned for early 2024. Presently closed, the Druid, said to date back to the 12th century, has been a popular village local and dining pub for several years and fits well with the company’s existing portfolio.
For Jerry – well known as the founder of the highly distinctive Brunning & Price pub chain – it is a return to North Wales. Born in Bangor and educated in Colwyn Bay he has strong links with the region and its pubs sector; his father owned the Royal Hotel in Capel Curig, now the Plas y Brenin outdoor centre, while his aunt, Ellaline Bunney, ran the West Arms hotel in Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog for 40 years.
Launching Brunning & Price in the early 1980s with pubs in the south of England, he moved the business north to create Chester’s Old Harkers Arms from an abandoned chandlery in 1989. He then opened several quality venues across North Wales: Wrexham’s Pant-yr-Ochain, the Corn Mill, Llangollen, the Glasfryn in Mold and the Pen-y-Bryn at Colwyn Bay. Jerry sold Brunning & Price in 2007.
However, Jerry says plans for the Druid Inn are less ambitious than those past major projects. “The Druid fits in well with our philosophy on village pubs and I look forward to returning to North Wales. What we are aiming to create here with a careful renovation is a simple but good village local. A pleasing place to meet friends for a decent beer and something to eat if you feel inclined,” he said.
Jerry, 67, adds that his young team, including his own children, will be doing the leg work of renovation, drawing on his own ‘little bit of pub knowledge picked up over the years, which will, I’m sure, come in handy when it comes to seeking inspiration and pub wisdom.”
Dining at the Druid will see modern menus mix traditional classics with contemporary dishes. A wide selection of hand pulled cask ales will be kept, often from brewers in Cheshire, North Wales and Shropshire alongside the group’s exclusive house JPA (3.6%abv), a light and hoppy pale ale developed by the team and now brewed by Big Hand of Wrexham. A range of craft beers and ciders from independent producers will also be on offer together with Pubs Ltd own tap dispensed house wines, blended exclusively for the company and imported directly through a ‘negociant’ in Bordeaux.
The Pubs Ltd group now includes the Black Bear in Whitchurch, the Hare at Farndon, Chester’s Henry Potts in Watergate Street – opened just one year ago in the heart of the city – and the award-winning Swan at Marbury cum Quoisley, near Nantwich. The Swan was last week voted the ‘North West Best Pub’ from the prestigious National Pub & Bar of the Year Awards – just five years since it was reborn by Pubs Ltd. /Ends/The Druid A (2)
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