Hole in the Wall landlord left stunned after his Southsea pub is one of two in Hampshire to be given Camra gold award

A LANDLORD was left stunned after his traditional Southsea pub was one of only two Hampshire pubs to be honoured by an ale consumer group with a prestigious award.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 2:58 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th July 2021, 6:11 pm
Hole in the Wall publican Jonathan McKerracher PICTURE: WILL CADDY

Jon McKerracher, who runs the Hole in the Wall in Great Southsea Street, said it was ‘absolutely amazing’ after his pub was handed a Golden Award by The Campaign for Real Ale to celebrate 50 years of the organisation’s campaigns.

As part of its anniversary celebrations throughout 2021, Camra is recognising people, groups or businesses that have made a ‘significant contribution’ and ‘helped us get to where we are today’.

The Hole in the Wall - which Camra describes as ‘a wood-panelled gem that offers a wide range of beers from an ever-changing selection of local and national breweries’ - was the only pub awarded from Portsmouth and among just three from Hampshire and Dorset.

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Hole In The Wall pub in Great Southsea Street, Southsea Picture: Google Streetview

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The Prince of Wales in Farnborough was the only other pub in the county to be honoured.

Jon said: ‘I didn’t know much about the award but it is absolutely amazing especially when those awarded are so sparse from the region. I thought more pubs in the area would win.

‘It is really good news after 16 months of trouble for the industry. Hopefully we can start to get back to some kind of normality.

‘During the pandemic early on we were doing a lot of delivery and takeout drinks and were selling 1,200 pints a week in April 2020.

‘Recently it has been the worst-case scenario as we do not have any grants and staff are off furlough and with social distancing we have not been able to take a great deal of money.

‘But to get through it and end up with an award is good.’

The pub offers a range of beers including favourite Goodens Gold from the Flower Pots Brewery. Beers from Thornbridge Brewery are also in high demand.

Despite pubs being able to throw open their doors with no restrictions on Monday Jon said it was important to be careful. ‘We will still be limiting the numbers coming into the pub. We’ve still got to keep our eyes on the ball because the last thing we want is to be closed down again,’ he said.

‘A lot of pubs are on their last legs so we all need to do our bit.’

Camra’s awards director Gary Timmins said: ‘I am delighted to be honouring these pubs. This year is our anniversary year, and we want to take this opportunity to celebrate the successes of great British locals as well as Camra’s achievements – we wouldn’t have got far without their support.

‘This anniversary comes on the heels of an incredibly difficult time for the industry after a year of lockdowns and restrictions. I hope the teams behind the winning pubs and their locals will take this award as appreciation for all the hard work involved in running the pub, over the decades and especially now. Nominations were submitted by our members and consumers, which says a lot about the support and impact they have had.

‘Winners have been chosen for their successes in standing the test of time; for being convivial, characterful and community-focused, and of course for consistently pouring great pints. I applaud these pubs for their dedication, for being community stalwarts and campaigning heroes.’

There were 32 pubs in total awarded across the country, including five that have appeared in all 48 editions of the Good Beer Guide, the longest standing community-owned pub in the country, and the current Pub of the Year title holder.

Nominations for the Golden Awards were made by Camra members and locals. Over 240 pubs submitted were whittled down to the list of awardees.

The Golden Awards will be celebrating recipients in three different categories: ‘Pubs’, ‘Pints’, and ‘People’. The winners in the ‘Pints’ and ‘People’ categories will be announced later in the year.

Local presentation events are in the process of being arranged, with each pub receiving a certificate of achievement.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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