THE FIRST micropub in Fareham has opened its doors – with a former gamekeeper trading boars for beers to run the business.
West Street Alehouse will be serving patrons from 164 West Street, Fareham, on the site left vacant by the Crafty Makery more than three months ago.
The micropub is owned and run by Steve Willemsen, who trained as a gamekeeper in France, working with the Channel family at the Chateau de la Verrerie.
The former gamekeeper said both jobs require being a ‘people-person’, but he hoped his days of managing wildlife are ‘all behind him.’
He said: ‘Communication is key, especially on shoot days.
‘I enjoyed working in France – I drank a lot of wine, but not lot of beer.
‘But I have always wanted to be self employed and have my own business.
‘It’s always been a dream,’
Opening night, which saw customers making the most of the micropub’s outdoor seating, was ‘overwhelming’ for the 34 year-old publican.
He said: ‘I would have been totally crushed if it was empty.
'If you look at a map of micropubs in the area there's a lot of blank space around Fareham.
‘We're nowhere near saturation point in this area.’
Steve has never run a pub before, but he is marrying into the trade - his future sister-in-law is the landlady of the Four-Ale Taproom in Gosport.
The Chairman of the Portsmouth and South East Hampshire Campaign for Real Ale, Jame Newell, said:
‘These sort of places rejuvenate the pub industry, they are great for the high street, and they are great for drinkers locally.
‘There are towns smaller than this that have pubs in old laundrettes and butchers.
‘They serve local ales you won’t get in the traditional pub – crucially, they are serving local beers.’
West Street Alehouse will offer a range of beers on rotations from Hampshire breweries, with three cask beers, six keg beers, and four ciders.
Steve said: ‘My favourite at the moment is the black IPA from Urban Island, called Urban Graffiti.’
‘It’s very weird – an IPA crossed with a stout - but it’s amazing.’
Other breweries helping to christen the pub included Fallen Acorn, Staggeringly Good, and Red Cat Brewing.
Spirits will be available, with a selection from the Portsmouth Distillery Company, based at Fort Cumberland in Eastney.
The West Street Alehouse will be open from 3pm to 10pm Monday to Thursday, and midday to 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.