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Spring 2023 continued…

Spring Newsletter 2023

The next FoHB Social will be held at the Black Country Arms, Walsall, on the 13th March, starting at 7.30pm as usual. We will have a table top quiz, a great raffle and the usual 50p off vouchers. I expect we will be upstairs, where I can take membership renewals from those who have yet to pay. It’s still only £6 a year, or £9 for joint membership. Sorry we have to have 2 socials in this pub consecutively but local venues are hard to find at short notice. This problem will occur next year as well so we are in the process of sorting that out.

The proposed trip to Halifax is postponed due to unforeseen circumstances, however we do have a thing to do on April 15th, an Away-Day social at Green Duck Brewery, Stourbridge. No coach involved as we can all make our own way there by bus and train (free if you have a bus-pass). Our friend there (Ian Shires) has offered everyone who comes a pint of GD cask and either a cob or half a pizza on the house. I will publish the travel details separately so we can all meet at Stourbridge Junction in time for 1pm opening. Interested members please give your name to me.

The Hydes trip went very well even though 6 people couldn’t make it on the day, but that meant we still had 45 on the coach. The raffle made £115 and the collection for Manchester Children’s Hospital  in Hydes tap-room raised £480 (which shows what a generous bunch we are) and Paul Jeffries was very pleased to accept this to pass on to the hospital .

 The AGM at the Black Country Arms was well attended and we elected the committee unchanged for another year. The following donations were made: Walsall Breast Cancer Support Group - £450; Prostate Cancer Support Group - £250; Walsall Heartcare - £250; St Giles Hospice Walsall - £350 (£310 of which, raised by Phil’s rare beers tasting). Our honoured guests Sally Cooper, Peter and Sandra Dyke, and Rina Guddu, all said what a lot the donations mean to their charity, and gave us their sincere thanks. NHS Goscote (St Giles) will be presented at the hospice at a later time. The raffle raised £51.00

Ma Pardoes in Netherton is under threat of closure due to rising costs and reduced footfall. Sales have halved, and the licensee cites issues with unresolved business rates, paying back the bounce-back loan and not a lot of help with the rent due to owners Star Pubs & Bars. You can add Leeds Brewery, Frisky Bear, Nomadic, Old Dairy, Beatnikz and Skinners to the list.

Old boys from Highgate all seem to be doing well for themselves. Steve Nuttall (ex- Managing Director) now has Joules Brewery in Market Drayton with 40 pubs; Angus McMeakin (ex- Director) has Black Country Inns with 48 pubs and is still brewing at the ‘Old Bulls Head’ in Lower Gornal; and Andy Dukes (ex- brewer) is still happily ensconced in his brewery in Long Acre Street.  Paran (ex-brewer) is still working for ‘Davenports Brewery’ (Blue Bear) in Smethwick, churning out forgettable beers, but gainfully employed nevertheless. Only Austin Morgan (ex-brewer) seems to be bucking the trend at the moment as he has been ousted from Backyard Brewery following merger with Warwickshire Brewing Co. and Grasshopper Brewery; and has posted online that he is now looking for another challenge.  Where is that scarlet pimpernel of brewing Neil Bain at the moment? They seek him here, they seek him there, Neil Bain’s been brewing everywhere. Last known at Woodfords in Norfolk, unless you know better?