Beer festival goes hand in hand with success


Local pub thrives in face of face of adversity

By Sam Crompton, Funmi Olutoye, Matt Bass and Will Wainwright

A thriving Wimbledon boozer hosted a beer festival this weekend in the face of local pub closures.

The Hand in Hand pub, on Woodhayes Road, held the event in a bid to keep business high as rivals continue to struggle.

Punters enjoyed 30 different cask ales in the festival which ran alongside British Food Fortnight.

Speaking ahead of the event, Assistant Manager, George Gillet, said: “It will be a celebration of all things British. We’ve got so many different beers on even if you’re not naturally an ale drinker. Hopefully it will be good times.”

He added: “We’ve done really well in the last couple of years.”

Other local pubs, including The Hand and Racquet on Wimbledon Hill Road, will be hosting similar events in coming weeks as local establishments strive to maintain business.

Borough pubs have battled to survive, with Mitcham seeing more than half its pubs close down.

After pulling pints for more than 250 years, The Fox and Grapes on Wimbledon Common is set to become a restaurant before Christmas.

The group owners of the establishment, situated in a Grade-II listed building since 1750, had been in administration for two years before being bought out this year.

Barman Michael Benson said: “We were doing OK but not making enough to sustain the losses being made.”

The Hand in Hand is hoping to continue to buck the trend despite closures elsewhere.

A spokesman from The British Beer and Pub Association said it is good that pubs are capitalising on the large growth of different types of brewing.

He said: “It is very important for pubs to find all sorts of angles to attract their customers.”

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