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Mon 25th Feb 2013 - Breaking News - Craft beer pubs maestro sets up own brewery – plans pubs
Brains behind Fuller’s craft beer pubs sets up own brewery – plans pubs: Steve Keegan, the man who developed Fuller’s innovative craft beer pubs, The Barrel and Horn and The Union Tavern, has set up his own brewery, Late Knights Brewery – with plans to open his own pubs. Keegan ran six pubs for Fuller’s and developed the Tom Foolery in Bromley into the Barrel & Horn and opened The Union Tavern for Fuller’s. He said: “Five months after starting the job (with Fuller’s) I completely rebranded the Tom Foolery as a craft beer pub, not serving any Fuller’s beers apart from Honey Dew. The Barrel & Horn has been a roaring success, really challenging what happens in Bromley. I brought in my own design team, management, music promoter and team of people to decide what direction the food and drink would go. We made some pretty big decisions for a Fuller’s pub, and a lot of them made people pretty unsure if it was the right thing to be doing. All-in-all we believed in good beer. We started with ten keg and four cask beers, but soon moved to 15 keg beers as this was the side of the pub that people liked. We had Thornbridge, Innis and Gunn, Brooklyn Lager, Dark Star, Meantime and lots of other beers on keg that Fuller’s have never had on their bars before. Working closely with Flint & Spark, my designers, we managed to pull off a cracking pub that rocked. We didn’t spend much money on it, but took takings from £3,000 a week to nearly ten times that amount at Christmas last year. With this project behind me, my next venture in the craft beer world was The Union Tavern, in Westbourne Park. This was another big departure from what a Fuller’s pub is. Again the focus was not purely on Fuller’s beer, but to celebrate (their) role in the London Brewers Alliance. Along with Ben McFarland, I developed a food and drink offer that incorporated a draft beer list almost entirely of London brewed beer.” Keegan has set up Late Knights Brewery in a warehouse 200 yards from his home in Brockley. He said: “I took the decision to investigate the options of setting up a (brewery) down here, and one thing led to another, and I met Graham Lawrence, of Mr Lawrence Wine Shop in Brockley, who just happened to have a warehouse 200 yards from my house. Then Christmas came and I decided to finish my role with Fuller’s to work full time on Late Knights. I owe a lot to Fuller’s for giving me the freedom to come up with places like Barrel & Horn and the Union Tavern, but my head was fully in the future and that wasn’t working for Fuller’s. My beer is in some of the best pubs in London, and this is very satisfying. I’m not wanting to make a fortune out of the brewery. I want to produce really good beer. One way or another we will be involved with pubs. After the success of The Barrel & Horn and The Union Tavern, I’m pretty well situated to knock out a decent pub or two.” Keegan said there will be more news on pub openings “in the next few weeks as there are a number of opportunities on the horizon”. The Late Knights Brewery name is a reference to the late nights Keegan worked setting up his brewery whilst working for Fuller’s.

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