It’s another press release relating to the St. Austell Brewery in Cornwall, England. This one amuses me because it’s both slightly daft and a good reminder than the British take their pubs and their beer seriously.
St Austell vicar Patrick Bamber has teamed up with his local pub to take the Christian message beyond the walls of the church – and into the bar.
Patrick, who is the associate vicar of St Austell at the town’s Holy Trinity Church, is holding Sunday evening services in St Austell Brewery’s Seven Stars pub to offer a different experience for regular pub- and church-goers.
The first evening service was held on Sunday July 27 and was a great success, with a second service planned for Sunday August 3 at the Seven Stars, starting at 7pm.
Patrick said: “The whole idea of the Christian message is that it is for everyone. We love our church but we know not everyone will go there so this is a way of reaching out into the community with an informal service in a relaxed atmosphere.
“It is also away of supporting our local pub, the Seven Stars, which like so many pubs in Cornwall plays an important role in the life of the community.”
Patrick said he was delighted at the way the first service had been received, with about 40 people in the pub joining in with local musicians in signing popular and praise music as well a listening to Patrick read from the bible and give a short talk.
He said: “We didn’t know quite what to expect going into this and so we encouraged everyone to buy a drink and the service we planned was deliberately informal to allow for the pub being busy and perhaps a bit noisy. However, when I got up to speak the pub went really quiet and everyone was listening – it was really a special moment.”
Landlady at the Seven Stars Ameena Williams said: "We have a good relationship with the church and I was delighted when the vicar approached me and suggested he hold a service in the pub – after all he’s normally got more customers at 7pm on a Sunday than I have!
“Patrick was keen to show some of his parishioners how good a local pub can be and also to show some of the Seven Star’s customers what the church is doing. The service was really nice and quite informal with some traditional Cornish songs mixed with hymns – and at the end a few of the congregation even stayed on for the karaoke!
“We’re very much looking forward to this Sunday’s service and everyone is welcome to come along and join in.”
The Seven Stars, on East Hill, in the town centre, was St Austell Brewery’s first ever pub, having been opened in 1863 by the Brewery’s founder Walter Hicks – the great great-great grandfather of current St Austell Brewery Managing Director James Staughton.
St Austell Brewery
- Founded in 1851, St Austell Brewery is known to be one of the oldest businesses in Cornwall
- It is one of only 30 Independently Family Owned Brewers in the UK
- The company owns 168 pubs (www.staustellbrewery.co.uk)
- It is the South West’s largest wholesale distributor of beer, wines and spirits, serving more than 2000 free trade accounts, from pubs, clubs, hotels and other licensed outlets in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset
- The company employs up to 1200 people including part-time and seasonal staff
- The company brews five regular real ale beers: Tribute, Tinners, IPA, Proper Job and HSD
- There are two keg versions: Cornish Cream and Duchy
- The bottled beer range consists of HSD, Tribute, Admiral’s Ale, Proper Job and Clouded Yellow
- The company markets its real ales nationally
- The company also distributes a full range of national brands of beers and a full range of wines and spirits under the Walter Hicks label
- The company has eight distribution depots – St Austell, Bude, Heathfield, Ilfracombe, Isles of Scilly, Redruth, Newquay and Cullompton
- The company is a recognised centre of excellence for training, accredited by the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), offering a wide range of courses to people who work in the licensed trade