Heysham builder opens micropub after spotting gap in beer market

Peter Whaley has opened a new craft beer pub in Heysham called The Bookmakers.
Peter Whaley has opened a new craft beer pub in Heysham called The Bookmakers.
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A builder from Heysham has opened the village’s first

micropub after being inspired by another nearby.

Peter Whaley spotted a gap in Heysham’s beer market after visiting The Little Bare micropub in Bare.

“We need one of these in Heysham”, was the rallying cry from locals, and so two years later, on January 27, Peter opened The Bookmakers in the former Betfred shop in Heysham Road, saying there had been a “great response”.

Peter, who is chairman of Heysham Neighbourhood Council, and has been a self employed builder for more than 30 years, attended St Peters Primary School and Heysham High School.

He said: “I was forever seeing people from Heysham in The Little Bare, and everyone kept saying, we need one of these in Heysham. My wife and I had got back to Heysham after a trip to the Little Bare and we went to get a take-away, and walked by the old chemist which was empty and I said ‘that would make a nice micropub’. We went to Australia for five weeks, and when we got back the property had been let. But the idea was there and it was just about finding the right property.

“I’d heard that Betfred had bought the old bank and moved there, so we contacted them but they wanted to sell rather than let it.”

Peter said he would have struggled to both buy the premises and renovate it, so he got in touch with his accountant, David Whitaker, of MW Financial Solutions, and discussed the micropub idea with him.

“I knew where I wanted to go with it, and David said he’d be happy to become my business partner, so we bought the property and got to work on it,” he said.

The Bookmakers has an “industrial rustic” feel, says Peter, with wooden pallets making up the ceiling, and copper piping set into the bar.

It even has a former church pew bought from a second hand shop in Morecambe. It serves five cask ales, three keg beers, as well as premium spirits, cider, wine and soft drinks.

“The place has been so well received,” he added.

“I try to use microbreweries, and Avid Brewing Co in Quernmore are essentially our house beers.

“We also have the new Q Brew in Carnforth, and Westmorland Brewery in Kendal has also proved popular.

“Other beers come from companies who specialise in craft beer supplies.”

Check out The Bookmakers on Facebook for latest news.

WHAT IS A MICROPUB?

A micropub according to the Micropub Association is defined as follows: “A micropub is a small freehouse which listens to its customers, mainly serves cask ales, promotes conversation, shuns all forms of electronic entertainment and dabbles in traditional pub snacks”.

There may be differences between the pubs; they may or may not have a bar, they might serve beer straight from the cask or through hand pumps. They share a philosophy: a simple pub with the focus on cask beer and conversation for entertainment, with the basic premise of KIS, KIS – Keep It Small, Keep It Simple.