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Morning Briefing Strap Line
Wed 3rd Oct 2012 - Breaking News
Everards unveils second Project Artisan scheme: Leicestershire brewer and retailer Everards has secured its second site for Project Artisan, an evolution of its Project William venture with microbrewers. Project Artisan looks to install local food and drink businesses – such as bakers, chocolatiers and butchers - in Everards pubs or property. Everards has acquired The Church pub in Birmingham’s up-and-coming Jewellery Quarter and will be investing £400,000 on site acquisition and refurbishment with a view to re-opening in May 2013. The site will be the second Project Artisan venture in Birmingham after the opening of Stirchley Stores last month. The company’s tenant at The Church will be Soul Food Project, formed in 2010 by Matthew Beck and Carl Finn, who have more than ten years experience in the food, drink, music and hospitality trade. Soul Food Project is based on the pop-up restaurant revolution and has been cooking food “with care and passion” at live events across the Midlands. Everards chief executive Stephen Gould told Morning Briefing: “The Soul Food Project offer fits in beautifully with that part of Birmingham and also alongside the project in Stirchley. It builds Everards reputation here in Birmingham for supporting food and drink entrepreneurs. As a single site investment people might ask where does that fit into our strategy. “But it fits directly because we are always very proud to purchase and develop freehold property. But at its core, Project Artisan is a recruitment and development initiative around food and drink.” Everards has already invested £250,000 into converting a former pool table supply shop into Stirchley Village Store and Bakery in the Bourneville area of Birmingham. The venue serves as an artisan bakery, co-operative food store, cookery school and craft beer outlet. It’s overseen by Tom Baker, a former NHS dietician who set up Loaf, a commercial maker of artisan bread, a few years ago. Baker has invested £20,000 in the venture, raising the money through a community bond, with 20 investors contributing £1,000 each and paid a six per cent rate of interest in fortnightly loaves of bread. The wholefood shop is run by unpaid volunteers South Birmingham Food Co-operative, who receive discounts on goods sold by the venture. Baker told Morning Briefing that demand for his artisan bread has grown to 700 loaves a week since opening. Project Artisan follows Project William in which Everards bought unloved pubs and worked with small, independent artisan brewers to transform them into bustling brewery taps. The scheme now has 14 microbrewers running Everards pubs, and four Cask Ale champions running 24 Everards pubs, with eight more in discussions with the company. Everards chief executive Stephen Gould told Morning Briefing that the principles of Project Artisan are similar to Project William with Everards looking “to learn lots” from working with artisan producers that it can apply to its wider 170-strong estate. He added that he expected Project Artisan to work like Project William in creating a virtuous circle by which artisans who work with Everards act as advocates to attract others to work with the company – Soul Food Project found Everards after a recommendation from first Project Artisan entrepreneur Tom Baker. Gould said: “Already the advocacy element of Project Artisan has paid dividends - Tom introduced us to people that we would have never met, ordinarily and we have purchased a pub with real potential. I was chatting with a young volunteer who was on his first shift at Stirchley Village Store and Bakery and he said that this is the kind of place he wants in his community and therefore he wanted to support it. Therein lies learnings for ourselves as operators of tenanted pubs. How many licensees have gone to their local community and invited volunteers who, on the back of volunteering, would receive a discount on goods and services and be very much part of their community offer?”

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