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Cheers! Upminster Taproom owners raise a glass to thank loyal customers

PUBLISHED: 10:00 26 November 2016

Bob Knowles and Caroline Sheldon, owners of the micropub.

Bob Knowles and Caroline Sheldon, owners of the micropub.

Archant

The owners of Havering's first micropub have celebrated their first year in business, describing it as "phenomenal".

Bob Knowles and Caroline Sheldon (central) raise a glass to the news that the Upminster TapRoom is to be included in CAMRA's Good Beer Guide 2017.Bob Knowles and Caroline Sheldon (central) raise a glass to the news that the Upminster TapRoom is to be included in CAMRA's Good Beer Guide 2017.

Caroline Sheldon and Bob Knowles, who opened the Upminster Taproom in November last year, threw a party on Friday for regulars and those who helped on the journey.

The pub eventually opened after a year-long battle, with the original plans unanimously rejected by councillors despite officers recommending them for approval.

“The level of community support has been amazing,” Caroline said.

“The Upminster councillors’ reaction to us opening was unfair and extreme, they should be supporting local, independent businesses like us that are good for the area but instead they put us through so much unnecessary stress.

“But a nice thing to see is that the people who originally objected to us opening are now coming in with family and friends for a drink.”

However, the year has not been without its challenges.

Caroline had to stop opening during the day after she became seriously ill in February, with Bob left to open at 4pm after work.

“Without the people of Upminster, we would have been forced to close,” Caroline said. “I was blown away by the support, with customers prepared to roll their sleeves up to serve others, wash up or do whatever job would help Bob. Friday’s party was our way of saying thank you.”

The Taproom in Sunnyside Gardens, which specialises in real ale from micro breweries, encourages conversation between customers.

There is no television or music and anyone caught using their phones or even having it on loud mode is fined £1.

Fines collected throughout the year have reached a staggering £2,290, which will benefit several good causes in the area.

The couple believe there is still room for more micropubs to open in Havering.

“It’s important that anyone thinking of opening one goes around and visits other established micropubs,” Bob said. “We took little bits from everywhere we visited but then put our own stamp and personality on it, which is vital.”

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